Boycotting the PRISAA

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PRISAA stands for Private Schools Athletic Association. It was organized on Feb 17, 1953 through the initiative of Dr. Manuel Carreon, Director of the Bureau of Private Schools. It was incorporated under SEC Registration No. AN093-000539 forty years later, on Feb 2, 1993 with the following incorporators, each contributing P100: Emmanuel Angeles, former CHED Chairman during the latter years of the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration; Anthony Nicanor, a Philippine Sports Commissioner during the time of incorporation; the late Athletics Director of National University, Leticia “Mommy” Paguia; Felicitas Francisco, PE Director of the University of Santo Tomas; and a Jose Laureles, who is identified in the internet as an official of the Jose S. Enverga Foundation University in Lucena City.

Last Nov 20, Foundation University President, Dr. Mira D. Sinco, sent the letter quoted below to Mr. Ryan Aznar of Southwestern University in Cebu, who is coordinating PRISAA events in Region 7. A copy of the letter was furnished to Fr. Vic Uy, of the Holy Name University in Bohol, former PSC commissioner, and current President of PRISAA region 7. The letter remained unanswered to this date, triggering the move on the part of FU to boycott the national PRISAA games, renamed “National Collegiate Games or C-Games” by Angeles, scheduled in Feb next year at the Rizal Sports Complex in Manila.

Dear Mr. Aznar,
Foundation University has been a long time member of the PRISAA and as I recall, when the 13th National PRISAA was held in Dumaguete City in 1966, my late husband, Leandro G. Sinco, was elected Chairman of the National Board of Trustees. Having said this, I trust that you will understand and appreciate the motive behind my raising certain questions pertaining to recent developments in this athletic league. These queries may be stated as follows:

1. I am made to understand that the PRISAA is now affiliated with an organization called Federation of Higher Education Associations, which according to the website of the Philippine Sports Commission, had requested for funding support in the amount of P5 million to finance the holding of the National Collegiate Games, a request which the PSC denied. Is the National Collegiate Games the National PRISAA?

2. I am also made to understand that the FHEI is composed of Regional Associations of Higher Education Institutions (RAHEI) of which Region 7 is a member. What are the RAHEI and FHEI? Are they in the same category as, say, the PACU, to which Foundation University and I presume other PRISAA members, are likewise affiliated with?

3. What is the juridical personality of the FHEI and the RAHEI? Are they SEC registered? If so, who are the national officers of the former? I also understand that the supposed election of officers of Region 7 RAHEI was postponed indefinitely due to the untimely demise of the mother of the National Chairman of the PRISAA/FHEI?

4. Is there an official and legal tie-up between the Region 7 PRISAA and the RAHEI? If so, when and how was this relationship forged?

5. I am also made to understand that the CHED has authorized the collection of P100 from each student last February to finance the cultural and academic competitions of the PRISAA, however, since this additional fee was not subjected to public hearing, we cannot impose the fee this school year. However, in a letter dated November 18, 2010, addressed to Presidents of PRISAA Member Schools, you indicated that we are being “assessed P15,000.00 per school as participation fee for Athletic and Academic event.” Since we intend to participate only in the “Athletic” events, are we required to pay the fee of P15,000.00?

I would appreciate a clarification of the questions I raised above so that any subsequent moves we undertake to insure our legitimate participation in the forthcoming PRISAA competitions is done with the best of intentions and without any cloud of doubt. Today, I have authorized the participation of our basketball, volleyball and sepak takraw teams in the eliminations to select the representatives of Negros Oriental to the Regional PRISAA which you will be hosting in Cebu. I hope that in telling you this, I am assuring you and other members in Region 7 of Foundation University’s intention to continue to be part of the PRISAA.

On Nov 22, we received a letter from Aznar informing us that he endorsed our letter to Fr. Uy as he “is the best person who can clarify your query no. 1 to 4 more accurately than I do.” As I indicated above, Fr. Vic Uy has not provided the answers to the questions that Dr. Sinco raised.

Wanting to test the validity of our planned boycott and to muster support from other PRISAA members, I texted UNIGAMES president, Roger Banzuela of De La Salle University-Bacolod, and was I in for a pleasant surprise! I emailed him a copy of Dr. Sinco’s letter and the following are some of his text messages to me: (a) “Ok. I’ll help you. I’ll start contacting ang mga kilala ko sa ibang Region;” (b) “I distributed your letter and suggested to boycott the Feb C-Games, or send only 1 player kung ayaw nilang magboycott. On Thursday, I’ll be in Manila and I’ll give copies to my friends from Southern Tagalog;” (c) “Can I publish sa local daily dito sa Bacolod the FU decision to boycott the C-Games of Angeles para marami makabasa?;” (d) “On the 19th, magkita kami ni Richie (PSC Chairman) and I’ll explain to him everything;” and many more text messages conveying support and encouraging information regarding shared discontent and need for reforms in the PRISAA.

There are many issues to be raised regarding the management of the PRISAA in addition to those cited in Dr. Sinco’s letter: (a) election of national officials where Angeles has been President/Chairman since 1990; (b) current SEC status; (c) financial report on funding support received from the PSC and the private sector (for example-P1.5 million from PSC and P1 million from Manny Pangilinan for the national PRISAA held in Naga City last year); and (d) an intriguing partylist whose candidates include Angeles’ son, Gabriel Martin L. Angeles, President and CEO of the Angeles University Foundation Medical Center, in the last elections garnering 25,211 with an interesting acronym: 1st PRISA which stands for “First People’s Representative for Indigent Student Athletes.” Is there a sinister plan of Angeles to use the PRISAA to establish a political base for this partylist?

The PRISAA is one of the oldest sports leagues in the country which includes in its program both basic and tertiary level competition. Member institutions levy on its student population P100 per semester to finance participation. Schools with enrollment in the tens of thousands stand to collect millions of pesos. Thus, the potential of PRISAA to promote sports participation among the youth must be safeguarded against any attempt to utilize the league for ones personal agenda.

We call on other member institutions in our University Town to join FU in this campaign to institute reforms in the PRISAA. Other members in other parts of our country are joining us. We look forward to the administration of Silliman University, Saint Paul University Dumaguete, NORSU and ACSAT to be one with FU.

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