MANILA - The continued bickering between the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is not alarming and not serious enough to merit suspension by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

This was the view of IOC representative to the Philippines Francisco Elizalde, who clarified that so far there has not been any direct intervention by the government in the affairs of the Philippine Olympic Committee and the national sports associations.

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Despite having two Philippine teams in the 25th Southeast Asian Games—one funded by PSC and the other by POC—Elizalde said the situation isn’t that extreme yet but acknowledged it was “ridiculous.”

“That was ridiculous to say the least. But such was not an extreme situation where the IOC can step in and involve itself by issuing a sanction like suspension as in the case of Kuwait,” said Elizalde, referring to the suspension of Kuwait.

However, he warned that the Philippine situation may worsen and the troubles can reach the IOC headquarters in Switzerland.

He said that some members of the IOC members already warned him about the situation and the IOC could be forced to intervene and issue a sanction.

“No, we’re far from being sanctioned or, worse, suspended. But, definitely, they’re watching us.” said Elizalde.

He revealed that there had been attempts in the past by government agencies to mingle with the autonomy of both the POC and NSAs but all those cannot be considered as direct intervention.

Those instances, he said, adversely affected the growth of sports and brought embarrassment to the country, especially in international competitions.

The longtime IOC permanent representative cited that the current problem facing sports in the country involved personality and political affiliation.

“While the PSC chairman (former Manila Congressman Harry Angping) belongs to the administration, the POC president (Jose “Peping” Cojuangco) is with the opposition,” he said. “This is the reason there is lack of mutual respect for each other. The relationship between the government and the Olympic movement should be based on the principle of respect and cooperation.”

He also said, “How can you solve the problem when everybody is going to court suing each other?”