Giving its 17-person board of directors and officers a fresh mandate last week, the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) on Saturday said it will reboot its Olympic program by reaffirming the PATAFA, World Athletics and Olympic values of honesty, transparency, ethical use of science, hard work and the judicious use of its resources for its athletes’ success and character development.
Dr. Philip Ella Juico, former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman and member of various governance and integrity commissions of the then International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), now known as the World Athletics, was again elected president of the association. Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez, congressman of the second district of Cagayan de Oro, was reelected chairman.
Senator Christoher Lawrence “Bong” Go remains PATAFA honorary chairman.
Businessman Rommel Sytin is the PATAFA secretary-general.
Also elected were Agapito Capistrano, executive vice president; Atty Melinda diaz-Salcedo, corporate secretary; Engr. Noel Silva, treasurer; and Elmer Ngo, auditor.
The trustees are: former Oriental Mindoro governor Dr. Benjamin Espiritu; Cebu businessman Felix O. Tiukinhoy Jr; Ilagan City Mayor Josemarie Diaz; sportsman Rafaelito Villavicencio; Joseph Anton Bengzon; Jaime Villegas; Datu Yusoph Mama; Dr. Guillermo Torres Jr; Atty. Roberto Uy and former PATAFA president Go Teng Kok.
Juico said the board will re-emphasize— with even greater vigor— its said core values in its decisions as “times continue to change rapidly especially with the vast improvement seen in the Filipino athletes recently that, coupled with the advancements in training, science and opportunities, offers a lot of chances for our elite athletes.”
“Grassroots sports development and a revitalized Kids Athletics program, however, continue to be the most integral and interlinked part of the PATAFA development program chain”, added Juico who during his stint at the PSC, pioneered the Government’s “Sport for All” Program that was embodied in the country’s first-ever Philippine Master Plan for Sports Development and triggered the creation of the Philippine Sports Institute inaugurated by then President Fidel V. Ramos.
For his part, Sytin emphasized the protection of the government funds infused in the PATAFA’s program as well as the sponsorships by the private sector.
“We’ve been judicious in our spending, and that translates to all of us in the Board – from the president down. We also inculcate that to our athletes as we should follow all rules and standards being sportsmen and gentle persons. We follow rules and laws, and uphold the PATAFA to the highest standard. Our newly-published Athletes and Coaches Handbook, our code of ethics, say it all”, Sytin said.
The board also bared an initial plan to be presented to PSC to send a compact group of 2019 SEA Games medalists for training in Austin, Texas, early next year in preparation for the Hanoi Games in May 2022 and the Asian Games in China in September next year.
Meanwhile, the national team is now deep in training in Baguio City and will compete in the forthcoming Ayala Philippine Athletics Championships (aPaC) at PhilSports track oval from December 9 to 10. It must be noted that the PATAFA national championship is one of the few organized by NSAs, most of which have great difficulty organizing high level competitions during the pandemic.