MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) will do its share to augment the Philippine Sports Commission’s meager funds for the preparation and campaign of Team Phl in the 26th Southeast Asian Games through its own “godfather” program.
According to POC chairman Monico Puentevella, the Olympic body will approach the country’s business tycoons and largest corporations to possibly tap them as “godfathers” for the different national sports associations (NSAs).
“We plan to approach the Ayala de Zobels, John and Lance Gokongwei, Andrew Tan, Lucio Tan, Ramon Ang, the Gotianuns, Yuchengcos, Gabby Lopez, Oscar, Piki, and Manolo Lopez, Lhuilliers, and others who have been silent and unsung heroes of sports for many years,” Puentevella said.
Additionally, the POC will also try to sell the athletes to multi-national companies such as Samsung, Nokia, Hyundai, and Daewoo. “This would form part of their social responsibility portfolio,” he said.
The POC’s godfather project will be patterned after the successful scheme of the 1980s during which taipans footed the bill for various sports – Danding Cojuangco for basketball, Roberto S. Benedicto for swimming, Lucio Tan for weightlifting, Panfilo Domingo for lawn tennis, and Dominador Pangilinan for baseball.
The footsteps of the late Pangilinan is being followed by his son Manuel, whose companies PLDT, Smart, and Meralco, are taking care of boxing, taekwondo, tennis, badminton, basketball, football, and wrestling, among others.
“Just like MVP, I believe there is no reason why the others would not gladly contribute to the cause,” Puentevella said.
Both the POC and the PSC are scrambling for extra funds for Team Phl as no extra money from the national government is forthcoming. President Aquino himself told sports leaders in a recent meeting. The PSC has allocated P30 million for the SEAG campaign but with the delegation expected to balloon to 700 or 800, it faces a shortfall of P60 million.