December 12, 2017, 12:33 pm
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Diaz also wants reforms in POC, PSC

SO who’s afraid to sign the petition urging reforms in the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission?

Not Rio Olympic Games silver medalist Hidylin Diaz, who was among the handful of brave souls who signed a manifesto demanding that changes are needed in the country’s highest amateur body as well as the government sports agency.

A member of the POC Athletes Commission, Diaz, who returned home with a bronze and silver medal from the recent world weightlifting championships in Anaheim, California, has intimated to some of her close friends her disenchantment on how local sports is being run.

In her own weightlifting backyard, it is an open secret that Philippine Weightlifting Association president Monico Puentevella and vice president Bong Atilano, who both claim they discovered the diminutive dynamo from Zamboanga City, don’t get along well.

Aside from Diaz, others who have signed the petition so far are Karen Caballero Tanchanco of squash, Bettina Pou of gymnastics, Rene Fernandez of shooting and squash’s Robert Bachmann, who has been one of the vocal advocates of reforms within the POC and the PSC.

Bachmann, who initiated a meeting of around 20 National Sports Associations three months ago after the country’s debacle in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia, can’t understand why the NSA officers who attended the meeting are reluctant to sign the petition.

“They were the ones who gave their inputs to this petition so we included them.  So why aren’t they signing it?” Bachmann noted. “This is something that I cannot understand.”

A draft of the manifesto was reviewed by the POC Executive Board two weeks ago and POC second vice president Jeff Tamayo said that the board found nothing wrong about the contents of the petition, according to Bachmann.

“This exercise was done to effect changes within the two bodies and not meant as a tool to oust Cong (POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr.),” Bachmann stressed.  “We had no intention of taking him out as POC president. We merely wanted changes.”

Cojuangco had earlier appointed chess president Prospero Pichay Jr. to form a review committee that included Bachmann and Fernandez that would go over the position paper before it could be taken up by the POC board.

Another source said the existence of the petition paper could be the reason why the POC leadership scrapped its last general assembly meeting that was supposed to be scheduled in the last week of November.   

The meeting has been reset to January next year. 
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