New PSC commissioner Bong Coo vows leadership of ‘competency, integrity’

Manolo Pedralvez

Posted at Jul 20 2022 05:08 AM

Bowling legend Olivia “Bong” Coo said she felt delighted and at the same time overwhelmed when she learned Tuesday afternoon that she was appointed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the first commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission under his term.

“Certainly I was very delighted but also actually overwhelmed because I feel I have come full circle in my sports journey with this appointment,” said Coo, 74, who was handed an envelope by PSC executive director and officer-in-charge Atty. Guillermo Iroy Jr. containing her appointment papers.

“Atty. Iroy told me to come over to the PSC in the afternoon because he received an envelope from Malacañang addressed to me. When I opened it and read the letter, it was there and then that I learned that I was appointed as PSC commissioner.

“I have been in a lot of sports administration positions. This is very new to me. As an athlete and then as a sports official, I believe this is the highest I can go.

“First of all, I thank the Lord for giving me this new role and, of course, President Bongbong Marcos for putting his trust and confidence in me with this appointment, believing that I can contribute to local sports as a PSC commissioner.”

Among those who congratulated her were former Senate President and PBF chairman Tito Sotto “who assured me of his full backing,” according to the World Bowling and Philippine Sports Hall of Famer.

With the appointment, Coo, recently elected Philippine Bowling Federation president, acknowledged that she had to step down as the president of the bowling federation while also relinquishing her duties as the chairperson of the Philippine Olympic Committee’s Women in Sports Commission.

“The PBF board was also preparing for the Philippine National Open in October and we had begun looking for sponsors. Now this has to be put on hold until we find a new replacement for yours truly,” Coo explained.

In unfamiliar territory, Coo said Iroy assured her of his help in learning the ins and outs of the government sports agency.

“Atty. Iroy told me I can come to him for consultation regarding my job on a regular basis and familiarize me with the functions of the PSC,” she said with relief, adding that she had to brush up on Republic Act 6847, the law that created the PSC in 1990. 

As her first official function as a commissioner, Coo bared, she was requested by Iroy to represent the PSC when the Filipinas, the newly crowned AFF Women’s Championship queens, were to pay a courtesy call on Marcos Jr. at Malacañang Wednesday.

But she vowed to continue her advocacies not only in women in sports but also “sports excellence and sports for all,” which are also among the PSC mandates.

A five-time Asian Games gold medalist, Coo said she would also push for “safe sports,” especially among women “so they will be free from any forms of harassment either sexual or verbal aside from following the International Olympic Committee’s directive regarding gender equity in sports.”

“Drawing on my long experience as a former athlete and sports official, we aim to serve our athletes and all the other sports stakeholders in the best way we can with honesty, competence and integrity,” she said.