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Don’t lose hope. I am here to help you get government support in your quest for international recognition.
This was the message of boxing icon Sen. Emmanuel D. Pacquiao to athletes of different associations or organizations whose dreams of becoming known in the sports world had severely been affected by alleged corruption and too much politicking at sports organizations.
“Don’t lose hope. Sipag at tiyaga lang. I will fight for your rights ….that you should be given government support,’’ Pacquiao said in a message to Filipino athletes.
Pacquiao gave this statement in an interview after a two-hour organizational meeting of the Senate sports committee which he chairs.
The committee wanted a briefing on the “overview status of sports promotion and development in the country; Philippine Sports Commission plans and programs and proposed priority bills/legislative agenda’’ but was cut short because senators have to attend their afternoon plenary session.
“This (Duterte) administration is not joking…there must be changes. What should be stopped must stop,’’ Pacquiao said of his having heard “many things’’ that had hindered an honest-to-goodness sports development program.
Asked whether there is corruption at the Philippine sports sector, sports officials said they are not a perfect organization.
“If corruption exists, it is a hindrance to better sports programs and I want to dig deeper….that is one cause that stops programs from producing good athletes,’’ he said in Pilipino.
Queried on whether corruption has a negative effect on the performance of athletes, Pacquiao replied in the affirmative.
He pointed out that he himself had applied to be in the Philippine team but was not accepted. He did not elaborate.
Pacquiao said he had wanted to get a full briefing on the problems of athletes and sports agencies during the meeting but was not able to because there were other senators who fielded their own sports-related questions to officials.