The Azkals and the State of Philippine Sports: Has It Gone to the Dogs?
Monday, 13 December 2010 00:00
Mr. President, I rise today to congratulate young men who are converting basketball-loving Filipinos over to football. They are called the Azkals, for what reason they are called as such, I am not sure. Their team play is winning glory for the country. They are:
Ian Araneta, Jerry Barbaso, Yanti Barsales, David Mark Basa, Joebel Bermejo, Alexander Borromeo, Emelio Caligdong, Christopher Camcam, Jason de Jong, Anton del Rosario, Neil Etheridge, Mark Ferrer, Roel Gener, Robert Gier, Christopher Greatwich, Peter Jaugan, Ray Jonsson, Nestor Margarse, Reymark Palmes, Kristopher Relucio, Eduard Sacapaño, James Younghusband, and Phil Younghusband.
Also, to Simon Alexander McMenemy, Edwin Cabalida, Edzel Bracamonte, Rolando Piñero, Walfred Javier, Josef Malinay, Dan Palami and Rick Olivares who consist the coaching staff, management and media unit.
Mr. President, these men are teaching us three traits: Passion, Skill and Joy. That is the football mantra. Leidenschaft, Geschick, Freude. In the language of Paul, the German Octopus.
Our football players display this mantra in and out of the football field. Sadly, Mr. President, some officials and pretenders in the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) do not display, anymore, the football mantra of Pasion, Habilidad, Alegria -- in the language of the World Cup Champion, España.
Because of petty bickerings in the PFF, and, wrong policies in the PSC, we are not going to be able to host the Philippine leg of the Asian Football Federation Suzuki Cup - - depriving Filipino fans their opportunity to cheer our teams.
It’s final. All arrangements regarding the coming Indonesia – Philippines game is directed towards Indonesia – at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium. That is the big, big disappointment of our football players and millions of Filipino fans. Most important is that, it has come to represent the lack of foresight of the PSC. It also tells us that our athletes are often left to fend on their own. And that, combined with the centralized character of sports development, funding and policy, spell disaster.
As in many cases, mostly the generosity of benefactors - like Dan Palami and Manny Pangilinan - pushed our team on and in the process covered up our shortcomings.
Mr. President, this sad state of affairs in no way refers to the Filipino athlete’s mettle. Allow me to say a few things about our football players.
The best scoring ability in football history is held by a Filipino: Paulino Alcantara --an Ilonggo who became a doctor. No one has surpassed his scoring habilidad. From 1912 to 1916, he scored 356 goals in 357 game appearances. From 1945 to 1953, he scored 6 goals in 5 appearances. He is the all-time best goal scorer. His goal in April 20, 1922 is also one of the strongest balls. So strong was it, that it punched a hole through the net. Without doubt, football players want to emulate him. Mr. President, he is up there in football history where the likes of Johan Cryuff, the flying Dutchman belongs. Ballack, Beckham and Rooney have yet to kick up goals to achieve the feat of Spanish Ilonggo Paulino Alcantara.
In the present crop of our football players, we already see that glimmer of hope. Hope that Filipinos will once more gain glory for the country through football - - the only sports called The beautiful game.
Our team has improved the country’s standing. We occupy rank 175, on the average, but these young men have improved our ranking by leaps and goals. Mr. President, in the FIFA’s own words after 3 successive Filipino wins:
“Every cloud has a silver lining. Even the Philippines, long considered to be one of Asia's abject underdogs, had their day as the island nation shot up 13 places in December's FIFA/Coca-Cola world ranking following a second-place finish in qualifying for the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Championship in November.”
And then: “The Philippines pulled off one of the biggest shocks in the history of the AFF Suzuki Cup with a 2-0 win over defending champion Vietnam.”
Our team is on a winning run.
Meanwhile, deep in our hearts, we know we have failed, fair and square, to bring our team to play in their home court. Quoting from the book FIFA Football Stadiums Technical Recommendations and Requirements:
“One major conclusion is more valid than ever: crowd safety and comfort are directly connected. Improved amenities lead to increased safety. Comfort means more space for each spectator, shorter routes to the exits, more entrance gates and exits, areas to gather in and areas for refreshments as well as public conveniences. Once all these factors have been taken into account, when there are no more fences and when most of the stadiums provide protection from the scorching sun or the pelting rain, when spectators can sit in peace instead of standing for hours, that is when we can expect to witness the desirable elements of a sports event, namely, a relaxed atmosphere, electrifying and exciting, but never hectic and aggressive.”
Those words from FIFA certainly apply to all other sports venues. The FIFA has 10 prerequisites to be considered for international matches. Briefly, they are :
1. Pre-construction decisions such as stadium location, field orientation, multi-purpose facilities
4. Playing area
5. Players and match officials -- dressing rooms, media rooms, showers
9. Lighting and power supply
10. Communication and additional areas
After looking at the book, I now know, it was right that they told us the truth that the Panaad stadium isn’t good enough. Our appeals did not fall on deaf ears. They heard us and told us the truth. It is our turn to listen.
On top of the physical inadequacies of our stadium, there is disunity in the ranks of sports officials in charge of football. They have to get their acts together. Clean house, as the Federacion Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, said. Pay your coaches in time and pay them well, the athletes say, too.
An international sports federation calls for transparency and accountability. So we should, not just to respond to their call but to generate optimism in football and consequently in other sports.
The Philippine Football Federation is the recognized National Sports Association -- or NSA - - of football in the Philippines. The NSA is “organized for their respective sports in the Philippines and affiliated with their respective international federations and with the Philippine Olympic Committee which have exclusive technical control over the promotion and development of the particular sports for which they are organized.
As the football NSA, the PFF is authorized to receive assistance from the Philippine Sports Commission. It is also the FIFA–accredited NSA. And, has also received financial support from FIFA.
It is dawning on us, that money will solve a lot of our problems, but it is not the only ingredient to the solution. There is a brewing word war among the directors and officers of the PFF - - where the extreme position calls for the replacement of its head
The skeletons want out of the closet. I agree, and in due time. For today, our athletes come first.
For a moment, we may leave that issue of the missed football match in the home court. However, it is inevitable that the football story will force us to look into what is ailing our sports programs nationwide.
Today, Mr. President, we must look at the big picture of how often we just pay lip service to sports and athletics development. Slim medal harvest and low ranking generally describe the Philippines despite laws creating the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the constitution of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
For example, there was a 188-member national delegation to the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. Our athletes brought home three gold, four silver and nine bronze medals. I wonder. How many of them were athletes, coaches, trainers, doctors and others directly inputting into the performances? And, how many were on junkets paid for by public money?
It has been announced by the PSC that P400 Million will be used “to fund the country’s various athletic and grassroots programs next year.”
The PSC will get P168 Million for operating expenses from the GAA and the rest to be divided among NSAs. In addition, the DBM has approved P30 Million for the2011 Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia, Philippine National Games and the Batang Pinoy.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) will provide the balance of P202 Million via their monthly remittances to the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF). Likewise, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) will contribute from revenues generated from lottery draws.
The NSDF from Republic Act 6847 approved January 24, 1990 and from its Implementing Rules and Regulations adopted on May 22, 2008, as quoted, has the following sources of funds:
Sources of Funds. To finance the country’s integrated sports development program, including the holding of the national games and all other sports competitions at all levels throughout the country as well as the country’s participation at international sports competitions, such as, but not limited to, the Olympic, Asian, and Southeast Asian Games, and all other international competitions, sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee and the International Federations, thirty percent (30%) representing the charity fund of the proceeds of six (6) sweepstakes or lottery draws per annum, taxes on horse races during special holidays, five percent (5%) of the gross income of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, the proceeds from the sale of stamps as hereinafter provided, and three percent (3%) of all the taxes collected on imported athletic equipment shall be automatically remitted directly to the Commission and are hereby constituted as the National Sports Development Fund. Further, the Philippine Postal Service Office is hereby authorized to print paper and gold stamps which shall depict sports events and such other motif a the Philippine Postal Service Office may decide, at the expense of the Commission. Any deficiency in the financial requirements of the Commission for its sports development program shall be covered by an annual appropriation passed by Congress.”
In addition to all these travails in the sports sector, the PSC, PAGCOR and the PCSO are also embroiled in a conflict regarding the interpretation of the NSDF and the shares that should be remitted by the two revenue-earning government bodies.
Accordingly, the NSAs have to submit their plans and programs, or requests, to the PSC. Attached to it should be an endorsement from the POC. Either the NSAs are inefficient or the PSC and POC are negligent, or, both, that our sports programs are inadequate to fulfill not only our international commitments but our Constitutional mandate to fulfill the needs of our youth.
With the deplorable state of our sports facilities - - not just football stadiums and the glaring need to retool our programs to produce world class athletes, we are appealing to our athletes and our youth that we their elders and leaders be given “extra time”.
Mr. President, I am sure it is not just an urban myth that the endorsement and approval process in both the POC and the PSC is not fair and square. Likewise, the practice that athletes have to pay for their own way as in the “have money, will travel” policy adopted by the PSC and POC on and off. I‘m sure the appropriate Senate Committee will find it easy to flesh these issues out, and, flush out the bad eggs. Has our sports development program gone to the dogs?
If so Mr. President, then let us score some goals and kick some ass.
NURSING WOUNDS OF RAPE
Privilege Speech Sen. Juan Miguel F. Zubiri 13 October 2010
“NURSING WOUNDS OF RAPE"
Mr. President, my distinguished colleagues, I humbly ask for your contemplation and undivided attention as I once again stand on this chamber to condemn in the strongest possible terms the continuing heinous crimes being committed in the far south islands of this country particularly Maguindanao, the latest and most distressing of which is the crime committed against a volunteer nurse veiled under the name of Florence.
Unlike Florence Nightingale, the heroine nurse of England, our Florence was found at the back of a hospital in South Upi, Maguindanao, unconscious and half naked, undoubtedly a victim of sadistic rape. Florence, a simple lass, whose only endeavour was to serve the poor people hungry of medical attention became a helpless victim of evil and wicked crooks. She endured severe damage in her brain causing her right part of the body to be paralyzed and further suffered a speech defect. Indisputably my distinguished colleagues, Mr. President, Florence is going through a lot of pain and agony right now, not only in terms of her physical body but above all, her entire well being, as a person, as a woman.
Initially authorities arrested six suspects however no strong evidence so far implicating them exists. Then here comes a man named Melchor Fulgencio admitting that he and a certain “Edwin” was the real culprit. As of yesterday, however, Fulgencio withdrew his testimony and, as usual, claimed that he was merely tortured to admit to the commission of the crime. Another angle being looked into is the involvement of a politician’s son. With all of these, it is obvious that the fight of Florence is far from over and justice will be evasive.
I admit I may never fully understand or know what she is going through and what else she will be going through after her darkest and dreadful nightmare but at least I can envision, as each one of us can, how heavy her battle will be as she stands up and fights for justice. A rape victim’s life definitely turns 180 degrees, suffering from unwarranted judgment of callous people and enduring discrimination from the society, aside from the threat and intimidations usually resorted to by the perpetrators and let’s not forget the tedious, expensive and gruelling legal battle to attain justice.
I believe that we, as legislators of this country and humble servants of the Filipino people have done the best that we can do in terms of legislation to help rape victims and the society as well. Republic Act No. 8353, The Anti-Rape Law of 1997, made vital and relevant changes to the law on rape. One of which is that rape is now a crime against person and no longer a crime against chastity, with this the State can now prosecute even without the complaint of the rape victim, making it hard for the offenders to avoid prosecution. Another relevant change is the manner by which rape can be committed has been broadened, rape can now be committed by means other than sexual intercourse. Also we have Republic Act No. 8505, the “Rape Victim Assistance and Protection Act of 1998.” that mandates the establishment of rape crisis centres in every province or city, to be located in a government hospital or health clinic or in any other suitable place.
Mr. President, as a Minadanaonon, I am deeply disturbed and concerned with what is happening in my native island. I am also deeply concerned with the increase of rape cases all over the country. The increase is so alarming that it should frighten every decent individual of our nation. We should commit ourselves to the Filipino people not only in enacting adequate and significant laws protecting their lives, property and making this country a better place to live in, but further ensuring that all laws enacted by this august chamber will be implemented and will be used by every Filipino as a weapon against anyone or anything which will disturb and threaten our peace and security. I appeal for the proper enforcement of our laws, predominantly criminal laws which time and again are being trampled and disregarded by barbaric and villainous people taking not only lives of innocent people but the peace and safety of society as well.
Demand on the authorities implementing the law and prosecutors of justice system are strongly urged by this Representation. Although I laud Secretary De Lima for personally following-up on this, I wish all the members of the prosecution arm of our government share her enthusiasm and passion as well as her ideals. I strongly believe that proper administration of justice is the firmest pillar of government. Let us ensure and do our part that a life of amity and security is still possible, for after peace comes the most awaited progress we are all hungry of.
Mr. President allow me to end this humble call for peace and justice by a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. “Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.”
Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in the Philippines:Mercury Rising!
Privilege Speech by Sen. Juan Miguel F. Zubiri 8 December 2010
Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in the Philippines: Mercury Rising!
Mr. President, in August of 2007, I delivered my maiden privilege speech and talked about Mercury Rising. I was referring then to the rising global temperature which is causing climate change. Today, I will again discuss Mercury Rising but in its more literal context, that is the rising mercury contamination in our environment and our people.
My speech today coincides with the ongoing Global Forum on Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining or ASGM which is being hosted by the Philippines through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme. The forum started yesterday and will be until tomorrow, December 9. The forum is a multi-sectoral event with participants coming from all over the world. This is a prelude to the UN’s Intergovernmental Negotiations Council second meeting on January 2011.
Part of my speech is the presentation of Atty. Richard Gutierrez, Executive Director of Ban Toxics during a Forum in the Senate on ASGM sponsored by the Committee on Environement and Natural Resources and the Committee on Health chaired by Sen. Pia Cayetano last 6 December 2010.
There is great universal demand for gold throughout history. It has evolved into a depository of wealth, as a form of currency or medium of exchange and as adornments that signify beauty, status and power. Now, we are all surrounded by gold as its qualities lend itself well for industrial uses. It is so highly in demand although extracting it from the earth is proving to be very costly; not just in terms of the expenditures related to the acts of mining and processing, but in terms of the havoc on the environment as we destroy ecological niches such as forests in order to mine for gold.
There is no end to the demand for gold especially in communications. Citing celphones alone, a ton of celphones contains 280 grams of gold - a very viable enterprise for so called urban miners, comparing this to processing one ton of ore to get 60 grams of gold or more.
The current production of gold in the Philippines just for the first semester of this year is P49.8 Billion of which small-scale gold mining accounts for P19.3 Billion. At the average world price of gold today at $1,416.per ounce, it would seem that there is much money from gold to go around. Sadly, we are not seeing that among the Filipino ASM miners, including generations of children who have not risen beyond doing the dangerous job fit for grown-up men and machines.
In the gold rush areas like Diwalwal, and the traditional mines of Cordillera, the extraction of gold seems to be their lot, but the glitter belongs to some other people. Many poor attracted to the quick cash from gold sales remain poor, and, suffer from the ill-effects of using Mercury and other chemicals, such as cyanide.
What is artisanal and small-scale gold mining? (Slide 2) Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) refers to mining activities that use rudimentary techniques in extracting minerals, most commonly gold, by miners working in small sized operations.
Based on studies, there are gold deposits in around 40 provinces in the country. (Slide 3)
The table shows that since 1998, gold production by small-scale mining has overtaken the gold production of large-scale mining and has been steadily increasing while that of the large-scale mining has been on the decline. (Slide 4)
Why is artisanal and small-scale gold mining important? (Slide 5) Artisanal and small-scale gold mining plays an important economic role in the Philippines. It provides significant source of livelihood to about 300,000 miners and their families while directly and indirectly supports the livelihood of about two million people. For the last five years, the sector has been producing an average of 30 tonnes or about 80% of the country’s annual gold supply, and which placed the Philippines in the list of top twenty gold producing countries in the world.
What is the current state of artisanal and small-scale gold mining in the Philippines? (Slides 6-11) Artisanal and small-scale gold mining occurs in 30 provinces of the country with varying intensity and scale of operation. Extraction of gold-laden deposits takes several forms: surface, underground and underwater. Gold processing techniques also range from the customary gold panning method and use of sluice box to the more sophisticated method like mercury amalgamation and cyanidation.
How mercury is lost in the process? (Slide 12) Mercury or quicksilver or “asoge” in Tagalog is being used during the rodmilling or ballmilling to form the amalgam of gold and mercury. During this process some of the mercury used is disposed off with the tailings which will then end-up in our water bodies. The amalgam formed after the ballmilling,heat is then applied to it to separate gold and mercury. What is left is the sponge gold while the mercury has evaporated into the air, some of it possibly inhaled by the miner.
Cyanidation. (Slide 13) Others use the tailings for re-extraction of gold by adding cyanide which is another dangerous and harmful process.
Why is mercury use in ASGM a serious concern? (Slides 14-15) Mercury poses great danger to the life of miners, their families and communities living in the affected regions. Several studies conducted in mining areas and adjacent regions have also revealed that drinking waters and rivers have exceeded recommended water quality criteria, marine species such as fish and mollusks have mercury levels beyond the allowable limit while miners and children examined exhibited symptoms of mercury contamination. In 2006, the united Nations reported that miners in the Philippines are found to have mercury levels up to 50 times above the World Health Organization limits.
What are the issues confronting ASGM in the Philippines? (Slides 16-19) Aside from the need for most miners to legalize their operations, some environmental, social, health, legal and institutional concerns were noted in most mining sites. The cutting of timbers to support mine tunnels for instance, has aggravated the denudation of our forests and the distortion of scenic landscapes. The indiscriminate discharge of waste rocks in water bodies has also resulted in soil erosion and siltation which in turn cause instant flooding, with consequent damage to crops, properties and even lives. The excessive use and emmission of toxic substances like mercury and cyanide during gold processing has also resulted in the consequent contamination of several water bodies, thus undermining their beneficial use. Overflowing and often leaking mine tailings contaminated with mercury and cyanide are discharged directly in rivers and creeks and in due time end in seas and oceans.
Social and health concerns include unregulated migration in mining sites especially in “gold rush areas”, land tenure and resource use conflicts, limited access to health and basic services, exposure of miners to occupational health and safety hazards, exploitation of workers expecially minors and absence of social security benefits are some of the social issues identified.
Legal and institutional concerns on the other hand are weak and non-operational mining regulatory boards, costly and difficult permitting and licensing process, ineffectual enforcement of small-scale mining and other related laws, insignificant role of LGUs, and uncontrolled ASGM activities in protected and watershed reservation areas.
To amplify these concerns, let me cite some few historical cases. I cite as a palpable testament to the harmful effects of mercury exposure the “Minamata Mercury Disaster of 1956” in Minamata, Japan which left hundreds of people dead and tens of thousands contaminated with mercury.
The Philippines was one of the important sources of Mercury worldwide as we are in the Circum-Pacific belt along with the large Mercury deposits in Peru and California. From 1953 to 1976, the Mercury mine in Palawan was a major source and produced 2,900 tons. At the time it stopped operations, more than 2 million tons of mine-waste calcines were produced. Part of these mercury-contaminated waste ended up in Honda Bay as building material for a wharf. Mercury concentration went as high as 43 mg/kg-660 mg/kg total Hg. Similarly the pit lake and Tagburos Creek had concentrations of 4 mg/kg-400 mg/kg. The papers of Ms. Maramba and Feng detail their findings. World Health Organization drinking water standards were exceeded. This contamination then migrated to the sea by natural processes and became part of the food chain of fish, and molluscs, and finally people. This continues to this day.
Similarly, a news report last October cited rising Mercury levels in Pula Bato River from the contaminated sluice water of mines in Danlag, Pula Bato, Tablu and Palo 19 in South Cotabato. This data gathered by the DENR is backed up by data from the Sagittarius Mines, Inc. operating in gold-rich Tampakan in South Cotabato.
Add to this, the accidental spillage of a beaker of mercury during a science experiment at the St. Andrew’s School in Paranaque City, Philippines sometime in 2006 which left a 14-year-old student suffering from nerve damage with symptoms similar to that of Parkinson’s disease. The effects are as appalling as they are real.
Thus, the negative effects of Mercury on the various media – air, land, water and on biota – plants, animals including fish and human goes on a vicious cycle as the pervasive and persistent characteristics of Mercury takes over from its initial release to the environment by men. I also came upon the UNEP study which clearly states the various bonds that Mercury exhibits. Let me quote:
· “Mercury bond to organic matter. Mercury has a high affinity to organic matter and is often found sorbed to substances like humic acid (Guedron et al. 2009). · Mercury bond to inorganic matter. In many places, mercury is especially enriched in the fine grained fraction, consisting of sand, silt and clay (Ashley et al. 2002). It should be noted that this fraction might also be transported as dust. Moreover, mercury bound to clay-size particles is bioavailable and may serve as a precursor for microbial methylation (Guedron et al. 2009). ”
ASGM miners and their communities maybe subject to immediate direct exposure, while long-term release into rivers and seas, soil, and air, spells extended contamination of plants, animals and men. Surely, contamination is not limited to their tribes.
There is no denying that exposure to mercury is highly toxic to humans, most especially to pregnant women, children, and the developing fetus. It has adverse effects on the nervous system and causes irreparable neurological disorders.
I positively note the international and national action on Mercury which needs reinforcement through a ban on production, export, import and strict management of use, storage and/or disposal. A global treaty is now in the works, as I have been informed, and this has my support especially with the Philippine position that is strong on the “polluter pays principle”.
As the most affected in the use and/or abuse of Mercury, the ASGM miners may have to seek new technology or re-assess the Indigenous Peoples traditional mining practices. Several papers have been written on the subject. One of those is a paper by Ms. Caballero of the Ateneo De Manila University which differentiated the traditional ASGM from the gold-rush miners. Higher gold prices and the rush to get as much gold ahead of the others have forced many small-scale gold miners to use Mercury. An interesting thing that Ms. Caballero mentioned was that the Kankanaey mix the juice extracted from tobacco, calamansi, sunflower or sayote leaves to prevent fine gold from rising to the top of the panning concentrate. Likewise, the family-based and gender-differentiated roles in gold extraction puts a premium on the value of women’s labor saying women are more reliable in physical separation of the gold.
But, over the course of time, the difference between the gold-rush miners and the traditional artisanal small-scale miners are vanishing. More and more are gravitating towards the use of Mercury and Cyanide.
Let us not forget that, a common problem faced by traditional and gold-rush ASGM is the government’s failure to identify areas assigned for small-scale mining despite the enactment of the People’s Small-Scale Mining Law. On the other hand, areas for large-scale miners have been identified and covered by various instruments such as Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement, Mineral Production Sharing Agreement, Joint Venture Agreement and Co-Production Agreement. Traditional ASGM miners have complained of the cumbersome permitting process. This aggravates the situation wherein large mining firms displace them from their traditional mining sites.
Distinguished colleagues, I stand before you now not as a Senator of the Republic, but primarily as a citizen and foremost a concerned father to two loving and wonderful children. I daresay I speak in behalf of all the parents across the globe when I say that we want nothing more than a safe and healthy environment for our children to live in and subsequently grow up to in the near future. I sincerely believe that this may very well be the greatest legacy that we shall leave behind for our children and their children’s children for generations to come
Most important of all, if protection of the environment occupies our priorities, then our people will be assured of ecosystem services that are contributed by un-contaminated air, soil and water. When our food source and people’s health are affected, it is best that we choose caution and go slow on mining. We could not sacrifice our environment and the health of our people for all the glitters of a gold bar.
Thank you very much.
An Act Granting Philippine Citizenship to Marcus Eugene Douthit
Senator JUAN MIGUEL F. ZUBIRI SPONSORSHIP SPEECH ON Committee Report No. 4 “AN ACT GRANTING PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP TO MARCUS EUGENE DOUTHIT” October 12, 2010
Despite the fact that basketball is the acknowledged national past time of the Philippines, the Philippines for the past few decades have been languishing under the cellar of the international basketball competition hierarchy.
The Filipino people have witnessed the abrupt fall from grace of the once mighty Philippine national basketball team, which has been shrugged off in international competitions by our Asian neighbors who were able to adapt to the demands of international competitions by naturalizing foreign athletes who were able to contribute to the cause of their respective national teams.
The International Basketball Federation or FIBA, the governing body in international basketball competitions, allows naturalized players to play for the national team of the country, which naturalized him/her. Taking cue of this development, our Asian neighbors lost no time in naturalizing American born basketball players to boost their stock in international competitions, some of which include Jordan, who naturalized Rasheim Wright, J.R. Sakuragi for Japan, and Jackson Vroman for Lebanon. The said teams performed well in the FIBA Asia Championships Cup held last May 22 – May 30, 2010, where the Philippines finished a dismal 7th place despite fielding a team composed of the best professional players in the country.
Following the prescribed rules of competition by the FIBA and as part of a sports development program to help bring basketball in the Philippines to greater heights, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has done a rigorous search for a player that would aid the country to reclaim it’s rightful place in international basketball competitions. It is in this purpose, that this bill seeks to grant Philippine Citizenship to Marcus Eugene Douthit.
Marcus Eugene Douthit was born on April 15, 1980 in Syracuse, New York. Having played collegiately for the Providence College, Marcus Douthit was later on selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round, 56th overall, of the 2004 NBA Draft. Although Douthit never played for the National Basketball Association, he played an impressive stint for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds in the NBA Development League during the season 2005-2006. He also played for competitive leagues in Europe.
He has, as well proven in the past Mr. President, his desire and his love for our nation and our colors. He is a man that has stepped up to the plate and had fought for us in many competitions wearing our colors proudly.
An example was, during the recent 2010 Smart Philippine Invitational Cup, Mr. Douthit proved to be a valuable member of the Smart Gilas Pilipinas team after averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds that led to the victory over World Championship-bound and Asia’s third strongest team, the Jordan National Team. A player who stands 6’11 and plays the center position, Marcus Douthit no doubt can hold his own against other behemoths in Asia, including those from Iran and China, the top two teams in Asia. Furthermore, his experience and work ethic will contribute immensely to the training and development of Filipino basketball players.
In the past, naturalized athletes have brought honor to our country in various international sporting events. An example of this is Gillian Akiko Thomson, a gold medalist for the Philippines swimming in the 14th Southeast Asian games of Jakarta, Indonesia and in the 15th SEA Games in the Philippines in 1991. Another example is Christine Jacob-Sandejas, a champion swimmer, a former member of the Philippine women's swimming team, and a medalist in the Southeast Asian Games
Recently, the grant of citizenship by specific decree or legislation has benefited other countries. An example of this is Russia, whose stature in European Basketball skyrocketed from 8th place in the year 2005 to 1st place in the year 2007 in a large part due to the contributions of American-born athletes Jon Robert Holden and Kelly McCarty – who were both naturalized by issuance of a direct decree by President Vladimir Putin. Other countries that have naturalized players in national teams are Montenegro, Bosnia, Germany, Bulgaria and Macedonia.
Douthit exhibits a life in sports that can be achieved only with self-discipline and self-control throughout the years. His life is also a proof of his reputation of being a true gentleman as seen by his adherence to the code of conduct and of sportsmanship in and out of the court. Douthit, likewise, has accomplished much for himself in the academic field with a degree of Bachelor of Arts, Major in Social Science at the Providence College in the United States of America. He can measure up to the high standards that any country could require of its own natural-born citizens.
Marcus Eugene Douthit is in a position to make a significant contribution to Philippine basketball and Philippine sports and is accordingly eligible for conferment of the honor of being a Philippine citizen.
In consideration of all the above, approval of this measure is respectfully sought.
Speech of Senator Zubiri at GOPAC Conference
Thursday, 30 September 2010 17:22
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri 30 September 2010 Hotel Sofitel, Pasay City
Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) Conference & Regional Meeting of the Southeast Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC)
If I begin my speech by emphatically saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to one of the most corrupt countries in the world,” I am quite certain that a good number of pessimists would readily agree with me while some would otherwise argue that there is, in fact, some truth to the statement. Although I admit that there exists corruption in the country, I seriously doubt, however, if the Philippines could actually lay exclusive claim to the title of being the most corrupt in the world. Corruption, my dear friends (mind you this is not a new discovery), is neither a monopoly nor a national delicacy of the Philippines. It is endemic to many, if not all, governments of the world. People simply fail, wittingly or unwittingly, to recognize that corruption exists; are confused by the manner in which it presents itself; or, quite frankly, apathetic to the reality that is corruption that the same has become the rule rather than the exception. Those who benefit from it, on the other hand, ignore corruption altogether for all the obvious and convenient reasons.
My dear friends, it is my humble submission that this failure by the different governments of the world to acknowledge that corruption actually thrives in their system and culture is the fundamental reason why efforts to curb the same constantly fail or remain to be exercises in futility.
As we are all much aware, corruption is a social ill that perpetuates the disparity between the rich and the poor. It is an underlying threat that constantly undermines sincere government efforts geared towards economic stability and national security. Corruption, succinctly, is a problem that breeds a whole gamut of other problems that plague most, if not all, countries around the world. If governments are to effectively arrest corruption on a global scale, they must be able to work closely together and identify where the problem lies. Governments must be able to assess their respective systems and bureaucracies in order to ascertain where corruption is most prevalent. This is where the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) and the Southeast Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC), I believe, would be of great assistance.
This gathering today of distinguished men and women of various parliaments around the world is especially significant as the host country is one that graciously accepts international criticisms regarding corruption and vows to combat and eradicate the same in all levels of government. Like the Philippines, the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) along with its regional chapter, the Southeast Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC), serves as an acknowledgement that corruption exists; it is a problem that should concern us all; and that we, as citizens of the world, can do something about it. I commend, therefore, the noble efforts of the GOPAC and the SEAPAC in bringing together parliamentarians and other stakeholders in the fight against corruption, and express my full support to the aims and advocacies of this conference. I believe I speak in behalf of my colleagues in the Philippine Senate when I say that the thrust of the GOPAC and the SEAPAC is perfectly in line with the unwavering commitment of the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines to ferret out the truth as regards controversies involving government officials and more importantly, government funds.
My dear friends let me end by picking up from where I began. “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Philippines! Ours is not a perfect country, much less a perfect system of government. But the beauty lies in our peoples’ never ending pursuit for change – for the benefit of Filipinos and the betterment of the Philippines. I sincerely hope that my people and my country serve as inspirations to all of us as we all sit down to tackle measures to stomp out corruption across the globe.”