Atty. Joy Rojas speaks to the assembled horseowners and other industry members at the Thanksgiving Party.
Various horseowners and industry members delivered remarks at the Horseowners’ Thanksgiving Party last 10 January 2008:
MARHO president Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur C. Abalos thanked the supporters of the racing holiday and asked for the bayang karerista’s understanding for the recent events that transpired. ”Humihingi ako ang paumanhin sa lahat ng bayang karerista at pag-unawa sa nangyari. Let’s now move forward.”
Mayor Abalos added that “everyone should learn from the lessons of the past, na kailangan ng dialogo at pagkakaisa,” especially as the industry works together with Philracom to craft a comprehensive racing program. He also thanked President Arroyo “for heeding our call to improve racing conditions – salamat po!”
Addressing the new Philracom OIC Atty. Joy Rojas and the assembled horseowners, trainers, and other industry people, Mayor Abalos proposed “that there be a council from all sectors where we can review all policies, and form a technical working team.”
He drew attention to the OTB (off-track betting station) situation which needs improvement in terms of numbers and reach, and warned of the threat to racing posed by jai-alai, which will start operations next month.
Mayor Abalos concluded by saying, “Because of our advocacy, we have made history…I propose (the formation of) a federation of horseowners.”
The idea of such a federation, a blanket or umbrella organization covering all the horseowners’ groups, has been touted for many years but snowballed in recent months as more and more horseowners united in a common cause. The formation of the federation, tentatively called “United Horseowners of the Philippines”, is to be further discussed by the four horseowners’ groups – MARHO, Philtobo, KDJM, and SHOP.
New Philracom OIC Atty. Joy Rojas thanked the horseowners for accepting him in his new role, and said that by entering into dialogue with various industry sectors, “naniniwala ako na maso-solve natin ito, and we can all move forward.”
He revealed that he intends to create a long-term “master plan” for horseracing and breeding, to be developed via multi-sectoral consultation, that will serve as a guide for future administrators of the Philracom, “para hindi pa-bago-bago ang policies.”
Philtobo director Francisco “Coco” Cayco, a former Philracom commissioner, observed, “Ngayon lang nagkaisa nang ganito; ibig sabihin, iisa ang layunin.” He went on to say, “The lesson here is that together we can make things happen. Let us keep this camaraderie to make bigger things happen for the whole industry. Let’s not stop, let’s maintain the momentum to move the entire industry forward.”
Other speakers – horseowners Aristeo G. Puyat (former MARHO president), Augusto “Ochie” Santos (former Philracom chairman), Eric Tagle (MARHO VP-Finance), Rellie de Leon (former head of SHOP), Sixto Esquivias (new head of SHOP), Rudy Pamintuan (KDJM president), Dante Arevalo (past president of KDJM), and Rogelio Catajan (trainers’ association head) – congratulated Atty. Rojas on his new responsibilities, and hailed the unity and camaraderie shown by the horseowners and other industry sectors in response to the recent crisis.