FORMER FIRST LADY 'MING' RAMOS URGES SPORTS LEADERS TO UNITE

MANILA, February 12, 2004  (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Former First Lady Amelita "Ming" Ramos yesterday called on the countryís top sports leaders to unite and work together instead of wasting so much time and energy trying to put each other down.

Mrs. Ramos, president of the Philippine Badminton Association (PBA), delivered the pitch during a surprise visit to the PSC-POC Media Group headquarters inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex badminton hall.

"Instead of fighting, why donít we work together? Philippine sports is dying," said the former First Lady before shooting a short badminton promo for a local TV program.

She said a recent petition signed by a small group of disgruntled NSA (National Sports Association) leaders is not doing RP sports any good, especially now that the country is preparing for the Athens Olympics in August and the Manila SEA Games next year.

Mrs. Ramos said she was not even surprised that the group seeking the ouster of PSC chairman Eric Buhain did not even bother to ask her to join their cause.

"I think they didnít ask me because they know I will not sign. Why, is there a guarantee that if a new one is ever appointed he can do a better job?" she said.

The former First Lady felt that the oust-Buhain petition paper, signed by only 13 NSA leaders, should have been shelved after a dialogue between the PSC and the NSAs had already been set.

Celso Dayrit, the POC president who also heads the fencing association, admitted the other day that he submitted the petition paper to MalacaŮang last Friday but did not mention doing so when he attended the dialogue last Monday.

"Cito (Dayrit) is like that. If he doesnít want a person, he will try to kick that person out," said Mrs. Ramos, recalling Dayritís big role in ousting her daughter Cristy as POC president some years back.

The group asking for Buhainís head is calling for, among other things, transparency within the government sports agency, particularly with its financial activities.

Mrs. Ramos, however, said the POC should do the same despite the fact that it is a private entity but also receives funding and sponsorships from various sectors.

"If youíre asking somebody for transparency, you should be transparent yourself," she said.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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