AS HE begins his fresh term as Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president, Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino shared that one of his goals in the next four years is to give the sports agency a permanent home.
In his session with members of media at the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, Mr. Tolentino underscored that the local Olympic body for the longest time does not have an office that it can call its own, something he hopes to change after given another term to lead the POC.
“Since the POC was established, it has not had a permanent office building. While we’re not ‘informal settlers,’ for the longest time, we’ve been sharing space in the facility of the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) under a memorandum of agreement,” said Mr. Tolentino, referring to the facility of the PSC inside the Department of Education compound in Pasig City.
“In the world, or in Asia, or in ASEAN, we may be one of the countries which do not have a permanent office building for their national Olympic committee. Hopefully, under my term, we’ll be able to address that,” the POC head said.
In line with it, Mr. Tolentino, also the president of the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines and a sitting congressman representing the eighth district of Cavite, said he will bring up the matter, along with other concerns, when the POC convenes for its first assembly next week.
Mr. Tolentino said they hope the national government will back their push for a permanent home, seeing how such will go a long way in giving sports administration and the Olympic movement a boost in the country.
They are looking at the Cultural Center Complex in Pasay City or a part of the Aseana reclamation area in Paranaque City as possible site for POC office.
“Maybe, we can be given at least a thousand square meters from those lands to build our office. I don’t know how it will work because it’s between government and private sector, but we’re hoping it can be done,” Mr. Tolentino said, adding possible areas as well are Clark in Pampanga, Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and Tagaytay City in Cavite.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tolentino also shared that coming off a tough 2020 and a highly contentious POC election in November, they in the agency can move on and accomplish more under his latest term.
“The push is the same for me. Despite the hardships that we had last year and the limitations, I think we still accomplished some things. Coming from that experience, maybe we can handle the challenges moving forward. We survived, even if we were a minority in the executive board. So, now we have a new majority and maybe we have more good vibes towards a new direction,” he said.
Mr. Tolentino got another nod to lead the POC after beating lone challenger Clint Aranas of the archery federation, 30-22.
Last year’s election was one of the more contentious proceedings in the POC’s history, with the parties not seeing eye-to-eye on certain issues and took one another to task.
The new batch of POC officials began their new four-year term on Jan. 1. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo