Pia hails the ‘Dragon Warriors’ and seeks probe into non-recognition, denial of government support to PH Dragon Boat Team

Senator Pia S. Cayetano wants the Senate to probe the standards and requirements used by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) in accrediting and providing support to National Sports Associations (NSAs), particularly in light of the experience of the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) Team, which had been denied recognition and support, despite its exceptional performances in international competitions.

“We want to find out how come our Philippine Dragon Boat Team, which is acknowledged as one of the best and one of the most feared in international competitions, is not recognized as national athletes and are being denied the support they deserve in their very own country,” Cayetano emphasized.

The senator has filed two resolutions, Philippine Senate Resolution (PSR) No. 550, which commends the Cobra-Philippine Dragon Boat Federation Team, also known as the ‘Dragon Warriors,’ for its exceptional performance at the 10th International Dragon Boat Federation World Championships; and PSR No.551 which calls for an investigation, in aid of legislation, into the non-accreditation and denial of support to the PDBF by our national sports bodies.

In PSR No.550, Cayetano hailed the ‘Dragon Warriors’ for their successful campaign at the 10th World Championships held from August 3-8 in Tampa Bay, Florida, by grabbing five gold medals and two silvers, and setting five new world records in various events in the small boat division.

She described our rowers’ victory as ‘bittersweet,’ lamenting how members of the team had to scrounge for funds from private donors just to make it to the event in the absence of support from the government. Lack of finances, she added, also forced our team to send a smaller contingent made up of only 25 persons, noting that this handicap limited their participation to the small boat competitions (made up of 10 pairs of rowers, plus a drummer and steerer) and prevented them from joining the standard boat competitions which required 24 pairs of rowers, plus a drummer and steerer, where they could have easily won more golds.”

In PSR No.551, she stressed that without the recognition of POC, the PDBF’s athletes and coaches were not able to receive monthly allowances from the PSC, the government’s sports funding arm. She recalled that the PDBF has been struggling to get support and recognition since last year, when they were disallowed from the Philippine delegation to the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China—even if the team was able to surpass the qualifying time trials for the Asian Games which was set by the POC itself.

“The resilient spirit and world-class skills of our Philippine Dragon Boat Team, as well as other sports associations facing the same struggle, deserve support and recognition,” she concluded.#