POC chair apologizes to dragon boat team for lack of support; team still not recognized as national athletes
(SPOT.ph) Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) Chair Monico Puentebella has apologized to the members of the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) for his group’s lack of support, reports GMA News. Both parties attended a House committee hearing on youth and sports development yesterday, August 18. POC and other sports commissions made headlines recently for their apparent lack of support for the award-winning team and their failure to recognize its members as national athletes.
"Kung kami’y may kakulangan, kami po’y humihingi ng paumanhin (I would like to apologize for any of our shortcomings)," said Puentebella in the GMA report. He added that the POC funded the team until 2010 and claimed that it helped the team at the International Dragon Boat Championships in Tampa, Florida, where they won five golds and two silvers.
According to Interkasyon, the four-hour hearing ended in a debate between House representatives and officials from the sports commissions. POC President Peping Cojuangco said that the International Olympic Committee does not recognize dragon boat racing as a separate sport, which explains why the team cannot be recognized as national athletes. In the end, each member of the House offered to help PDBF by giving P5,000 from their own salaries-totaling to about P1.4 million-which the team plans to use for new boats.
The House hearing involving the dragon boat team and officials from the Philippine Olympic Committee