By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
WHILE the ongoing pandemic has effectively halted its activities and programs, the local rugby federation remains undeterred, continuously assessing the situation and charting the path to take moving forward, including the safe return to action once allowed.
Speaking to Asia Rugby, the governing body of rugby union in the region, Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU) president Ada Milby shared that the forced break they are having is being used to recalibrate their tack and prepare the group and the community for what lies ahead.
“[We are working] with government agencies to ensure a safe return to play for all athletes and support role personnel based in the country,” said Ms. Milby, the first woman to be appointed to the World Rugby Council in 2017.
“We are also using this time to review our governance structures and how to adjust our targets as we’re halfway through our current strategic plan. This allows us to consider new threats and opportunities for the union in how we grow and develop the game,” added the PRFU official, who was elected to her post last December.
In the past years, the sport of rugby has been gaining ground in the country and the PRFU among the best performing sports federations here.
Philippine national rugby teams are having steady success in international tournaments, including winning a gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games for the men’s team and silver for the women’s side.
Ms. Milby said the goal for them is to continue the momentum the sports has generated in the country and build on the gains but admitted that the pandemic has made things trickier.
Despite the challenges, the PRFU refuses to be “limited,” finding ways to engage their members while, at the same time, trying to grow the community.
“We are prioritizing engagement in non-conventional ways aimed at retaining our current stakeholders since rugby is about more than sport: it’s about community,” she said.
Zeroing in on her position as head of the PRFU and official in various councils abroad, Ms. Milby considers it as an honor and looking forward to taking on the challenge and doing more for rugby, especially here in the Philippines.
She also takes special pride in it, being a woman at the forefront of the rugby scene, just as she underscored the value of collaboration to achieve success.
“It has been exciting and rewarding,” she said, adding, “I wouldn’t claim any achievement as solely my own because all achievements on any council or committee are a result of the collective effort of the members that sit on them.”
Apart from Ms. Milby, also in the PRFU roster of officials are Rick Santos (secretary-general), William Bailey (treasurer), and Steve Payne, Jaime Urquijo, Timothy Kong, and Maxwell Stewart (board trustees).