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Political Dynasties in the Philippines: In My Opinion

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One of the most anticipated sports event in this region, the 28th SEA Games in Singapore, had been recently concluded. And despite the previous forecasts for the Philippines; that we might land in the third or fourth place overall, our teams came up with relatively paltry results in the region: we landed sixth of the eleven competing Southeast Asian countries. Ahead of us in the rankings are Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.

This biennial event also became memorable because of the infamous viral video of Pinoy divers John Elmerson Fabriga and John David Pahoyo. The two divers became internet sensations because of their cringe-worthy flops during the men’s single diving events, where they scored zeros in the men's 3-meter springboard competition last week. Both divers claimed that they only had four days to practice for the event.
 
The infamous "Splash Brothers". Screen grabs from Sports Singapore.
Sure, our cagers and boxers maintained dominance in the region, but in other fields we’re not as good as we think we are. We fell short of our predictions of 50 gold medals; and instead, came up with only 29 golds. It goes to show how little support our athletes are getting for their trainings. Those two Johns are no exception.

No wonder we don’t get a shot for those colored medals in the past four straight Olympics. In fact, our last best Olympic showing was 90 years ago in the Los Angeles Games where we bagged three medals. And now, the question remains: How can we revive Philippine sports?

More than just a self-loathing, I believe that the Philippine government had been ignoring the cry of our athletes for quite a long time already. The last time we had a president who took sports seriously was FVR.

While this country should have tapped on the huge potential of our Filipino athletes, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Olympic Committee seemed not to be doing their job of helping this become a reality. Rumors of mismanagement and power struggles between heads of the PSC, POC, and of NSA (National Sports Association) have been widespread for years now. Talk about palakasan.
One of our very few Olympic medals: This one is for 1964. 
I had the chance of talking to last year’s bronze medalist in the Asian Games for taekwondo, Mary Anjelay Pelaez. She told me that her fellow athletes need international exposures and better facilities in order to effectively compete with our Asian neighbors. She revealed to me that up to this day, our athletes are still allowed to train at the dilapidated 86-year old Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
 
The blog author with Filipino jin and
Asian Games bronze medalist, Mary Anjelay Pelaez. Photo taken in 2014.
Anjelay's observation is correct; in fact, our country devotes a measly sum for sports development. To check some figures, Singapore’s annual budget for sports is about 7 billion pesos – the PSC, on the other hand, allocates only 750 million annually.

Sports is a wonderful thing; it has the power to inspire individuals and uplift them from their current situation. It is an organized and competitive physical activity requiring fair play, will power, and unity. All those last three qualities this developing country greatly needs.


As for the not-so-satisfying rank in the Southeast Asia, it's not enough to just require our athletes to bag the gold medals without adequate support and funding from the government. Our athletes need nutrition, physical and mental conditioning, among others.

We’ve been talking a lot about Filipino Pride, it’s high time to back that huge braggadocio up. Are we waiting for Timor-Leste to finally catch up with us?
Last month, the Asian country of Nepal was rocked by a 7.8 earthquake killing nearly ten thousand people. After a couple of weeks, another quake with scale of 7.2 on the Moment Magnitude System hit taking the lives of many Nepalese. Yesterday, an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 shook Kanto Region in Japan.

With these unfolding natural events in the Asian Region where the Philippines belongs, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) recently released the Valley Fault System (VFS) Atlas which show the faultline and the localities projected to be affected should an earthquake occur. This fault wherein two plates bang against each other, has been by many scientists as already “ripe” that may possible move within our lifetime.

When this fault moves, it will produce a magnitude-7.2 earthquake (experts refer to as “The Big One”) which may hit any time within the densely-populated metropolis.
According to the collaborative study by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and PHILVOLCS, the last time an earthquake originated from the said fault was in 1658. The VFS is an active fault system in the Metropolitan Manila which is composed of two fault segments.

First is the 10-kilometer long East Valley Fault (EVF) in Rizal Province and the 100-km long West Valley Fault (WVF) that runs through the areas of Bulacan, Rizal, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, Makati, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Cavite, and Laguna.

Because of this incessant warning, the early rounds of which started more than a decade ago, the local governments were already notified and requested by the national agencies to prepare for such calamity as the damage can be very extensive.

According to the 2004 Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study, it was revealed that a 7.2 tremor in the metropolis may cause the destruction of about 40% of both residential and commercial buildings and may kill nearly 34,000 when it strikes during night time. Accordingly, about 84 barangays (smallest administrative regions) will possibly be affected by this earthquake.

A trickling of catastrophic events would then ensue: blackouts due to the collapse of 13-kilometer electric lines, destruction of about nine bridges, and the devastation of about half a million houses. Streets will also be wrecked and the connection of water will be cut off by the tremors. Sea and airports will also be in ruins.

And with this perceived apocalyptic event, the Philippine local government units are trying hard to respond to this catastrophe. Construction of structures in the five-meter buffer zones is greatly discouraged while residents are obliged to evacuate their dwelling within the buffer areas. Emergence of various tall buildings has to abide by the building code in order to withstand the earthquakes. The MMDA now has about 21 disaster response equipments in strategic areas around Manila which contain tools that can be used should The Big One strike.

Despite this, a more unified proactive response is still needed. MMDA Chief Francis Tolentino, in a press conference stressed out that the current quake readiness is “less than 5 of 10”. Communities need to be more serious in their emergency preparedness drills in order to ensure the safety of the millions who reside and work at one of the most populous cities in the world.