PRISAA boycott update

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A planned boycott of the Private Schools Athletic Association (PRISAA) national games initiated by Foundation University President Dr. Mira D. Sinco through a manifesto sent out to heads of 73 institutions of higher learning seeking their support is strengthened by developments in the education and sports communities in this University Town and in other parts of the country.

Locally, the first to profess support was NORSU President Dr. Henry Sojor. This is significant because the PRISAA chairperson “for life” and former CHED chairperson Dr. Manny Angeles wants to integrate the State Colleges & University Athletic Association (SCUAA)into what he is marketing and promoting as a National Collegiate Games.

It is believed this is a ploy of Angeles to create a mass-based support for a party-list he calls A Party Representative of Indigent Student Athletes (APRISA) which he fielded in the last elections, with his son as the first nominee-representative.

Interestingly, APRISA garnered some 25,000 votes, but not enough to send his son to Congress.

Silliman University President Dr. Ben Malayang had responded to Dr. Sinco’s letter saying he will convene a committee to discuss the issues contained in the manifesto. We are anxiously waiting for the final stand of SU which has several athletes who qualified to represent Region 7 in the PRISAA national games.

Elsewhere in Western Visayas, Roger Banzuela of De La Salle-Bacolod informed us in a text message that “after our meeting of NOPSSCEA (Negros Occidental Private Schools Sports, Cultural & Educational Association) and our USLS (University of St. La Salle) President will issue their stand to the manifesto and I’m sure all other schools in Region 6 will follow. On Jan. 29 in the WVPRISAA Board meeting, I will campaign to the members to join us in our demand for reforms in the PRISAA.”

When FU decided to spearhead the boycott, we were not aware that Atty. Remeliza “Peachy” Alfelor Moraleda, president of the University of Northeastern Philippines and granddaughter of the late Camarines Sur Gov. Felix O. Alfelor Sr., blogged as early as 2009, and prior to the national elections, her concern, thus: “Apparently, the PRISAA national organization has transformed itself into a party-list organization calling itself First PRISA. I don’t know how this happened…suffice it to say that whatever is happening, the guys behind First PRISA are using the PRISAA to build a network of members throughout the country…there is no doubt the people they have listed as their regional representatives are the same regional presidents of the local PRISAA…Right now, we–along with several other members schools–are thinking of withdrawing our membership from PRISAA, lest we be used for the political interest of others without our knowledge or consent.”

Peachy Moraleda is now leading the boycott campaign in the Bicol region in the company of Fr. Joel Tabora of Ateneo de Naga University and Sr. Asuncion Evidente of the Universidad de Sta. Isabel.

She informed me in an email: “Here in Naga City, there are only six PRISAA member schools: UNEP, Ateneo, USI, University of Nueva Caseres, Naga College Foundation and CCDI. If Ateneo and USI will withdraw membership along with our school UNEP and CCDI (which is also owned by our family), it will only be NCF and UNC that are left.”

On Jan. 21, Peachy forwarded to me an email of Father Tabora: “The issues raised in this manifesto reflect my concerns about PRISAA. I have been in conversation with Mr. Jec Claro for a pull-out from the PRISAA…”

The latest developments I have received through text messages and emails are: a) from a PSC commissioner: “We are not supporting PRISAA” (Jan. 24), b) from a sports official: “Angeles is having a hard time getting billeting areas in Manila. He is calling a special board meeting on Feb. 5 in Cebu City for a change of venue from Metro Manila to Region 9, Zamboanga City.” (Jan. 27).

With Cebu as the site of this meeting called my Angeles, I presume that Ryan Aznar of Southwestern University and Fr. Vic Uy of Holy Name University in Bohol, secretary and president of PRISAA Region 7, respectively, would play hosts. These two personalities were not elected by member-schools in the Region but were appointed by Angeles.

Hence, for the sake of delicadeza, and because Negros Oriental as a member is in the forefront of the campaign to boycott the PRISAA national games, I beliebe Aznar and Father Uy should refrain from hosting the meeting called by Angeles. The appropriate host for such a meeting is the PRISAA President in Zamboanga City or Region 9 (Western Mindanao).

As I put the finishing touches in this piece, I received an email signed by Bro. Raymundo B. Suplido, president and chancellor of USLS-Bacolod, indicating their full support of the planned boycott.

This will mean that the USLS, with 70 athletes and coaches qualifying to represent Region 6 in volleyball women, tae-kwon-do women, table tennis men, lawn tennis men, badminton women, karatedo women, swimming, and athletics will manifest the supreme sacrifice of not going to the games after a year of hard training.

Ditto for the athletes of the University of San Agustin in Iloilo and St. Louis University in Baguio. We salute this grand sacrifice of the athletes belonging to religious and sectarian institutions.

FU will not send its regional champion men’s beach volleyball team, and its qualifier in athletics. We hope that Silliman University will likewise join this campaign where coaches and athletes, in accepting to undergo the sacrifice of not participating in a national competition they have prepared for, will learn to fight and correct what is perceived as a wrong committed by those who profess to be teachers of the young.

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