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Bambol Tolentino says it is high time to have POC office

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino has said before that giving the organization its own home is on top of his priorities.

That hasn’t changed. And he hopes that his dream will turn into reality, especially now that the country had its best finish ever in the Olympics after bagging home a total of four medals in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.

“After ninety-seven years squatter pa — masakit man sabihin pero informal settler pa ang POC. So yun ang no. 1 sa bucket list ko,” Tolentino said in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum webcast, Tuesday.

For him, it is high time for the POC to have a place it could call its own, mainly to immortalize the accomplishments of past and present Filipino Olympians, led by the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz.

“Paano tayo makakapag bigay ng inspiration sa mga mamamayan, sa mga kabataan, sa mga atleta kung’ di nakikita yung permanent office building ng POC,” said the long-time politician.

“Na, nandun ‘yung museum, nandun ‘yung memorabilia ni Hidilyn, nandun ‘yung memorabilia ng 2020 Olympics, nandun ‘yung memorabilia ng 2024 hanggang sa sunod-sunod na taon, lahat ng mga sumali.”

Tolentino has been calling for the cooperation of powers-that-be in helping the POC since it is still sitting in an office space inside the Philsports Complex.

The Deputy Speaker said that he actually wrote a letter to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) asking if the committee could use one of its facilities as a ‘war room’ before the Tokyo Olympics, but was denied.

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“Ilalabas ko na ‘yung, hindi naman sama ng loob but ‘yung kakulangan ng kooperasyon ng gobyerno,” he said in the session also attended by Diaz and other Tokyo medalists Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, and Eumir Marcial.

“Sumulat kami, POC, sa CCP — kasi under nila yung PICC — February this year, so ilang buwan yun bago mag-Olympics. Humihiram lang kami ng isang opisina to be used as war room before Olympics and SEA Games.

“Hindi nga libre e, babayaran pa namin. After a month, March, sinulatan tayo, wala tayong magagawa kung dineny. So yun ang pananaw nila. Pero salamat pa rin,” the former mayor of Tagaytay furthered.

Tolentino didn’t hide his disappointment, but he’s nonetheless proud to see Team Pilipinas succeed in the XXXII Olympiad despite such.

“Natuloy pa rin, naging successful pa rin tayo sa awa ng Diyos. Hindi tayo pinapansin, wala pang tiwala sa atin e ‘di ba. Tapos ngayon, nagbigay na tayo ng karangalan, hello, baka naman pwedeng pansinin niyo na kami,” said the 57-year-old.

“‘Yung mga ganyan. Napaka-importante niyan. Kahit tent lang, kahit kapiraso lang, kahit sa sulok ng basurahan dun, sana pinagbigyan man lang tayo. Pero hindi e.”

Still, such an instance only pushes Tolentino to give the POC its own place, something that it hasn’t had ever since 1911, when it was still known as the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation before becoming POC in 1975.

“So after 97 years, ‘di po tayo papayag na sa panahon ng ating mahal na Pangulo, na hindi tayo magkaroon ng permanent office building.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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