There was this story about a young chess player from Albay who allegedly had to sleep for three days at the airport’s benches because of lack of funds after arriving from a competition in Bangkok, Thailand where he won gold, silver, and two bronze medals.
Worse, according to the story posted on social media, he had to travel to Thailand ahead of his father due to limited funds, resulting in his losses in the first few games, before finally recovering his bearing when his father arrived to assist him.
The story and claims were posted on social media, eliciting praise for the kid. While some were quick to direct their anger on the government.
“Tapos pag nanalo bunying bunyi ang gobyerno pero wala man lang sapat na tulong. Di na ako magtataka if another country offers citizenship and good life to the boy’s family.
Bansang mayabang pero walang alam sa pag aalaga ng kanyang mamamayan, dahil mga trapong gahaman wagas magpayaman galing sa kaban ng bayan,” posted someone who acted like he had a direct knowledge of the event that took place.
The story is now being debunked by officials of the organization that sent the player to the Thailand competition—the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.
Jayson Gonzales of the NCFP said it was impossible for Bince Operiano and other members of the delegation to be stuck at the airport because they have a guardian from the federation to assist them and would surely usher them to the nearest hotel if they needed to stay overnight.
“Itong mga sinasabing hindi tinulungan at natulog sa airport ng tatlong araw, ay hindi totoo. Dahil may schedule ang tournament ng mga bata,” said Gonzales.
What really happened? Why netizens were really so quick to react and lay down judgment without making further investigation?
This tells us to be more responsible with the use of social media. But what this tells us more is how social media can be used to peddle influence, whether it’s true or not.
Now the Philippine Sports Commission wants to know further.
PSC Commissioner Noli Eala said they will invite the player and his parents for a discussion. And if help is really necessary, they are ready to assist in nurturing his talent and help him achieve more.
The kid is not yet a member of the Philippine national team but he was among 24 others recommended to be supported by the commission. And he’s bound to get more when Eala meets them.
“The PSC is here to assist our athletes within the bounds of existing policies and guidelines. We are also coordinating with the National Chess Federation of the Philippines to discuss what assistance has been given by the NCFP to Bince so far, and how their NSA and the PSC can partner to further develop this gifted athlete,” added Eala.
This should not send a wrong signal that those who can make noise on social media will get the focus of attention from the government or private supporters.
There are other talented young athletes out there who were silently making the country proud.
If there’s any help coming, it should be for everyone who truly deserves it. Yes, including the young chess wizard Operiano.