By Graham C. Lim
Prominent businessman-philanthropist Antonio L. Tiu was unanimously elected as the Honorary President of the Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines (FESSAP) following a recent online-meeting by its Board of Trustees.
This development was announced by Prof. Robert Milton Calo, FESSAP Executive Vice President, who presided over the regular Board of Trustees due to the absence of erstwhile president Angel Ngu, who was unavailable due to an international trip.
Prof. Calo and Atty. Maria Luz Arzaga-Mendoza, who was designated the Chair of the Election Committee, oversaw the election proceedings that brought Antonio Tiu to the organization’s highest post.
The smooth transition of power from Angel Ngu to Antonio Tiu was very commendable as the FESSAP continues to uphold its commitment to serve university student-athletes from the young generation.
Antonio Tiu is not new to the FESSAP, for he was the Philippines’ Head of Delegation to the 27th Summer Universiade held in Kazan, Russia in 2013. The Kazan Universiade was so special as the country bagged its first-ever gold medal in Universiade history by way of Grandmaster Wesley So in men’s chess.
At the time, Mr. Tiu headed FESSAP Board of Trustees and was subsequently named as the Honorary Chairman of FESSAP from 2013-2015.
Mr. Tiu has a herculean task ahead as the year-long pandemic remains unchecked and sports competitions worldwide have slowed down, if not totally scrapped for the health and safety of the athletes.
But Tiu is not to shy away from challenges that have come in his way as evidenced by his past contributions to FESSAP.
Tiu takes over Angel Ngu, whose two-year term ended on February 15, 2021. Under Ngu’s leadership, the Philippines copped its second Universiade gold medal by way of national athlete E.J. Obiena’s victory in the men’s pole vault.
Tiu will also serve for a two-year term (2021-23) and is expected to pursue some of the activities and programs left behind by Angel Ngu that will only redound to the betterment of Filipino student-athletes and the upliftment of Philippine sports in general.
Moreover, the Board confirmed that Angel Ngu is commended as the FESSAP Honorary Life President. It was in 2017 that former FESSAP president, Mr. David U. Ong was also acclaimed as FESSAP Honorary Life President after his term ended.
“I am ready to serve the FESSAP to my best of my ability,” said the much-revered Antonio Tiu, who heads Agri Nurture Inc. (ANI), which is one of the leading agricultural businesses in the country. “Notwithstanding the pandemic, we hope to come up with sports programs, including on-line training and seminars, that will keep the student-athletes mentally active and vibrant during the pandemic times.”
The FESSAP is the sole national university sports organization officially recognized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). It is also affiliated with other prestigious international organizations such as Asian University Sports Federation (AUSF), Asia Pacific University Sports Union (APUSU), and ASEAN University Sports Council (AUSC) as the country’s representative.
The current FESSAP Board of Trustees is headed by the Honorable Alvin Tai Lian, the Chairman of the Board. Atty. Baldomero C. Estenzo from the University of Cebu is the Vice-Chairman.
Other than Antonio Tiu and Prof. Calo, the other members of the FESSAP Board of Trustees are co-Vice President Dr. Jesus Rodrigo Torres of the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP) and Mr. Felix O. Tiukinhoy Jr. of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc (CESAFI); Secretary General Graham C. Lim; Treasurer Miss Jeane E. Monteverde; Board Secretary Miss Maria Cecilia V. Sarmiento; and Directors Miss Alma M. Jocson from the Private Schools Association (PRISSA), Miss Lualhati Dela Cruz from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), Miss Ann Janeth G. Garcia (her alternate Mr. JC A. Clarito) of FISU Ambassador, Mr. Sean Elijah W. Siy of the FESSAP’s Student-Athletes Union (SAU), Mr. Joseph A. Sy from the Philippine Inter-School Sport Association (PISSA), Mr. Allan D. Soria from the State Colleges Association, and Miss Loren Chloe Balaoing from the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Mr. Tiu hopes restrictions to travel imposed by the government due to COVID-19 will soon ease with the distribution of vaccines nationwide, thus paving the way for local and foreign sports competitions to return.
If so, the FESSAP intends to take part in the 31st Summer Universiade in Chengdu, China in August 2021 and the 30th Winter Universiade in Lucerne, Switzerland in December 2021.
Moreover, a joint-cooperation and partnership between the FESSAP, headed by Mr. Tiu and the Philippine Inter-School Sport Association (which is recognized by the International School Sport Federation -ISF), led by its President Mr. Alvin Tai Lian and his Secretary-General Joseph Sy, has been struck to jointly support the high school student-athletes that will compete in the 18th Gymnasiade, also known as the 18th World School Games, in Jinjiang City in China in October 2021.
Moreover, PISSA president Alvn Tai Lian the appointed Honorary Head of Delegation to the 18th Gymnasiade is Mr. Yang Hua Hong of Omni Electrical & Lighting.
In addition to his position in the FESSAP hierarchy, Mr. Tiu likewise is the president of the National Orienteering of the Philippines (NOP), which is affiliated with the International Orienteering Federation (IOF) that is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Mr. Tiu is the CEO of a publicly listed agricultural trading company, Agri Nurture, Inc (ANI), a listed agriculture firm that engages in the manufacturing and distribution of pure fruit beverages and dried fruit snacks, process fruit mix, frozen fruits, vegetables, and dairy and rice products, and also the CEO of fintech conglomerate Greenergy Holdings Inc. (GREEN).
Mr. Tiu is the President and CEO of the Philippine Infradev Holdings, Inc., and Makati City Subway Inc., a joint venture with the City Government of Makati for the construction and operate the multi-billion dollar intra-city subway project.
The FESSAP is undertaking other sports projects but much of its plan is dependent on the containment of the coronavirus. Among the competitions in the backburner are the Philippine University Basketball League (PUBL), Philippine University Volleyball League (PUVL), and the Philippine University Swimming League (PUSL), and other different National Students Championships in September or October 2021 that will serve as the qualifying tournament to the 20th ASEAN University Games in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand in June 2022.
Also on hold are qualifying international competitions in archery, athletics, badminton, wushu, swimming, table tennis, and lawn tennis. (gcl)