Bambol to voters: Express our right to choose

Published November 24, 2020, 1:32 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Incumbent Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino is optimistic all national sports associations will participate in the upcoming elections on Friday.

“That’s our only chance to express our right to choose, so I’m hoping everyone will vote,” he said in Tuesday’s virtual Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

Tolentino, who seeks a fresh four-year term against archery chief Clint Aranas, is also confident of the officials’ understanding on who to vote for.

“Hopefully, they know who are the best people to lead Philippine sports,” he said.

There will be 51 NSA officials eligible to vote, two Athletes Commission representatives and International Olympic Committee representative to the Philippines Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski.

The elections will be held at the East Ocean Palace on Macapagal Avenue and will undergo strict health protocols.

Antigen swab tests will be performed to voters as a precautionary measure. Officials can still vote in an isolated area if they are tested positive.

Among the 54 total voters, five availed of the sealed ballots as they couldn’t be physically present during that day. They are officials from ice skating, canoe kayak, sambo and football, and athletes’ representative Hidilyn Diaz, who is currently in Malaysia.

Tolentino said when he would continue reaching out to different NSAs if given the chance to lead again.

“Sa akin kasi, sayang yung momentum eh. From Southeast Asian Games overall champion… andun pa yung momentum natin, ng mga atleta. So we should focus on that. Pangit naman yung hindi tayo united, yung simple policies, hindi pa tayo magkasundo,” he said.

“So we should focus on that, on our athletes. Because 2021 is going to be a busy year for them. Maraming mga tournaments. Kailangan nila suporta.”

Also a Tagaytay City Representative, Tolentino said he would push for additional funding for athletes from the government for these tournaments.

He had earlier pushed for P180 million funds under the Bayanihan Act 2 to cover the slashed allowances of national athletes.