“Reform is a process, and not an event.” – Kofi Annan

Palawan Governor Victorino Dennis Socrates made an excellent choice recently when he appointed an educator to lead the Sports Department of the provincial government under his administration.

Loved by her students and respected by her peers in the academic community, from East Elementary School in Puerto Princesa City to the Palawan State University main campus, Sylvany Delight Quevada-Gastanes has dedicated over 30 years to teaching physical education subjects to young students in Palawan. Known as “Vany,” she stood out among other applicants as the most suitable candidate for the position of the Sports Department head at the Capitol.

I first met Vany in the summer of 1998 during the meaningful and vigorous plebiscite campaign to exclude Palawan from the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao. It was a significant experience for those of us who were already of age, as we were joined by prominent leaders and good-hearted individuals who genuinely expressed their love for Palawan. One of them was the venerable former Palawan Governor Salvador P. Socrates.

Vany is a principled person, an honest one, and most of all — she hates any form of cheating in the field of sports. She was always proper.

Vany was a graduate of Bachelor of Science with a major in Physical Education. She was a product of the University of the Philippines in Diliman. She had a diploma in Sports Coaching also from U.P. Diliman. She was a U.P. Sigasig scholar. Her discipline was definitely Sports Science.

In 2002, Vany finished her Master of Arts in Education major in Administration and Supervision. She was a Philippine Public School Teachers Association (PPSTA) scholar.

She was a good product of public school education, she took up her elementary and secondary education in Lucban, Quezon before she went to U.P.

Vany was too passionate to mould the young minds of Palawan so she decided to stay and live in this island province. With a meager salary as a public school teacher, Vany sustained her life independently as a public school teacher until she got married to Edmund Gastanes, from the barrio of Panacan, Narra, Palawan.

As a member of the PSU faculty, Vany held the position of Sports Program Director for many years. Because Vany had been taught coaching, and with a sense of fairness, she had served in the various sports events, including the Palarong Pambansa as an officiating referee.

I salute Vany when she joined the military reserve force, under the major command of the Philippine Navy, with a rank of Lieutenant Colonel. With that, I knew, she acquired military discipline and courtesy. 

Now, Governor V. Dennis Socrates has mandated teacher Vany to lead the sports program in accordance with what is proper. As a start, Vany wants to re-energize the strength of the Capitol Sports office that is by giving proper training to its own staff, maximize the allocated funds, and to utilize the supply resources intended for the sports program.

Of course, the Sports program is not exempt to loopholes, malpractice or misspending by other Sports officials in the Capitol whenever sports events occur. 

I know, Vany herself has a keen instinct when there are lies and cheats in the process of the Sports office. I will let her discover this unsavory defect, from withdrawal of gasoline to hiring of referees.

Oftentimes, the Sports office is a milking cow that it is now time to develop and boost potential athletes from the municipalities so we can compete well in national sports events to bring home gold medals, not just wooden trophies. To introduce change to a bad habit is to reform.

Vany must use prayers as a weapon to do the reform in the Sports Office of the Capitol.

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