Asiad preparations delayed

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Aside from the Philippine Olympic Committee’s (POC) unliquidated expenses, unnecessary delays also hamper the country’s buildup for the 18th Asian Games set in August in Indonesia.
Sports commissioner Ramon Fernandez revealed that they have yet discuss with Asian Games chief of mission Richard Gomez their respective roles in the competition, with a little more than two months remaining before the prestigious quadrennial meet set in Jakarta this August.
Fernandez said a meeting with Gomez and his deputies Manny Cabili and Robert Bachmann is necessary before government could start procuring equipment, competition uniforms, airline tickets and other basic needs of the athletes.
Government procurement process is a lengthy process, according to Fernandez.
It usually takes more than 26 calendar days before the government can pick a winning bidder. Then, the supplier would need at least a month to complete the production-especially of tracksuit, competition uniform, bags and luggages.
A meeting between Gomez and PSC executive director and chief accountant Merly Ibay was initially set yesterday, but it was move to today.
But Gomez reportedly asked to move the meeting to early next week.
Gomez, also the Ormoc City mayor, is attending to his constituents affected by tropical storm Domeng.
“The ball is in their court,” said Fernandez, who is set to be appointed as acting chairman in the absence of suspended PSC boss William “Butch” Ramirez.
“(Government) bidding process usually takes three months. We only have two months left before the Asian Games, but until now we have yet to formally talk to Richard Gomez to discuss important Asian Games-related matters.”
Fernandez added that aside from the procurement of Asiad supplies, the POC also has yet to decide on the legitimacy of the membership of several national sports associations (NSAs).
“That’s another thing,” said Fernandez, who is pushing hard for the recognition of the karate federation headed by Richard Lim.
“The POC has to decide which NSA it should recognize and be given authority to form a team to the Asian Games.”
In a telephone conversation with Tribune, Gomez admitted that he cancelled his scheduled appointment with the PSC executives.
Gomez, the fencing president and Ormoc City Mayor, said government procurement is no longer needed as POC president Victorico Vargas and Ramirez already agreed that government will just turn over P72 million to the POC since private procurement is an easier process than that of government’s.
He said sports apparel giant Adidas is coming in as the official outfitter after giving them “a very good deal” of at least 50 percent discount on shoes, bags, tracksuit and other supplies.
“That’s what we agreed upon with chairman Ramirez,” said Gomez in an exclusive interview with Tribune.
“We agreed that they will just give us the fund and we will be the one to procure it since private procurement is much easier than government procurement. It’s just a matter of sitting down with them to clear things up.”
But the PSC maintained that it would not release the fund unless the POC has fully liquidated the P10.3 million incurred during the previous Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.

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