Saturday, September 12, 2009
Marco Polo Move
I was once a gymnasium barker and a play-by-play announcer at the old and roofless San Jose Municipal Gymnasium for the San Jose Summer Basketball League (SJSBL) games in the late 80’s to early 90’s. I replaced Mr. Apolinar “Ka Popoy” Valverde when the old man rested his voice in 1990. My contemporaries are Rommel Sandiego of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and Carlos “Lot” Bagatsolon, municipal employee of Magsaysay. I was jobless then.
The work became easy for me for I am also a play-by-play league announcer when I was still a teenager in Bubog. In addition, I am a big fan of Joe Cantada. I love to imitate his voice while I am at the panel. Not his looks,- only his voice, for I do not wear moustache and neatly-pomaded hair in my wholelife. (I imitated Smokin’ Joe’s voice but to no avail.) Incidentally, the legendary Vintage Enterprises and Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) sportscaster calls a traveling violation a “Marco Polo Move”. In basketball, traveling is a violation of the rules that occurs when a player holding the ball illegally moves one or both of his feet. Most commonly, a player travels by illegally moving his pivot foot or taking too many steps without dribbling the ball. Such violation is also called “caught on step” or “illegal travel” in basketball parlance.
According to reports, since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the presidency she had already 81 foreign trips, which included 111 visits and meetings in 40 countries, cities and territories. On the average, PGMA visited about 4 countries a year. Latest data from the Commission on Audit (COA) showed that the Office of the President incurred P 1.45 billion in foreign travel expenses from 2002 to 2007. Her office spent P241 million yearly for such travels which is equivalent to P 20 million monthly or P666,000 daily.
And here’s the latest : President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is set to have her state visit again after she went to Libya a week ago. The President is scheduled to leave again next week for London and Saudi Arabia (her New York trip was officially cancelled today) this coming Sept. 17 to 26. Meanwhile, the President defended her foreign visits amid persistent allegations of extravagant spending, saying the benefits far outweigh the cost as she wants to ensure the stability of the economy through her state visit. The very same words I've heard from a different lady Marco Polo.
And in many of the President’s travel abroad, Deputy Speaker Ma. Amelita C. Villarosa,- our representative to Congress, is included in GMA’s entourage. And if official foreign trip is a measure of good governance,- then GMA and our representative can be considered as very accomplished public servants. But that is not the case and according to Sen. Francis Escudero, ”Governance is (also) all about allocating scarce resources…”
Let us go back to basketball, the game invented by James Naismith. Somebody asked me this during my SJSBL days: “How do officials determine if a traveling violation occurs when a player goes to the floor and recovers a loose ball?”. Under FIBA rules diving or falling to floor is legal. However if a player then slides, he/she commits a traveling violation. If a player falls, without sliding, he/she can pass, shoot, dribble, if he/she has a dribble, before attempting to stand. But if the player rolls over, slides or stands with the ball he/she is guilty of traveling violation.
Is there such thing as “illegal travel” in politics? The idiot in me is just asking…
(Photo from Kareem Abdul Jabbar's official website. As seen in the picture, Jabbar is in town together with other NBA legends for the NBA Asian Challenge 2009 and will be facing PBA legends tonight headed by Benjie Paras, once played in SJSBL)