Bambol Tolentino to be 'more hands-on' as POC president

MANILA, Philippines – Newly-elected Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino vowed to be more hands-on in running the organization, especially with the country's hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games happening in 4 months. 

"Mas hands-on ako like 'yung mga hinawakan ko in the previous years, nakatutok talaga ako," said Tolentino, who was former POC chairman to Ricky Vargas before the latter stepped down from the post. 

(I'm more hands-on like how I did with those I've handled in previous years, I really oversee things.) 

The Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines (Philcycling) chief will convene the POC board for the first time in his official capacity as head of the country's Olympic body on Friday, August 2. 

Tolentino's first order of the day is to extend his hands to the rest of the board and show his sincerity and readiness to work with them.

At the same time, he's ready to answer issues previously raised by the board during the term of immediate past president Vargas shortly before he resigned from his post.

"I will answer them kung ano ang itatanong nila. And nasa kanila na kung tatangapin nila 'yung sagot ko. Basta sasagutin ko lahat ng tanong nila," said Tolentino, who appeared on Tuesday, July 30, during the weekly Philippine Sportwriters Association forum at Amelie Hotel. 

The 7th district respresentative of Cavite will encourage the entire POC board to cooperate with the SEA Games preparations as they move on from their leadership struggles in the past month. (READ: 'Time to work': New POC president Tolentino focuses on 2019 SEA Games)

"Unity first. You cannot have those directions if you don't have unity," Tolentino said. 

"We have to focus on the SEA Games so kailangan natin ng unity. Kung hindi tayo united, forget about everything."

(We have to focus on the SEA Games so we have to be united. If we're not united, forget about everything.) 

Tolentino revealed that he would be inviting a member of the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) to the POC executive board meeting to give an update on the hosting preparations.

With his election as POC president, Tolentino automatically assumed the position of PHISGOC vice chairman, giving up his position as PHISGOC sports director. 

With less than two years at the helm of the POC, Tolentino said his concentration will be more on the short term planning events such as the SEA Games, Para Games, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

"Kalimutan muna natin 'yung long-range planning, whatever plans or programs that you have in mind. That's not doable kasi very short lang 'yung term," he said.

(We should forget the long-range planning, whatever plans or programs that you have in mind. That's not doable because it's a very short term.) – 

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.