By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

MARIANO “NONONG” ARANETA stayed as Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president after he was elected for a third term as head of the football body in elections held on Nov. 29 at the Century Park Hotel in Manila.

Part of the 16th PFF Congress, the election saw Mr. Araneta winning over Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) president Ricky Yanson, 23-12, to earn a third straight mandate.

Mr. Araneta was first elected to the position in 2011 and earned a second term in 2015.

The PFF president said in the lead-up to the elections that if privileged enough to be given a fresh mandate he would work on sustaining and adding to the progress that Philippine football has made in the last decade.

“Rest assured, we will do better and we will move on as one,” said Mr. Araneta following his victory.

“I enjoin everyone to unite for the good of Philippine football. I am extending my hand to my opponent so we can bring football further,” he added.

Mr. Araneta got solid support from the Mindanao bloc, led by his running mate M’lang Cotabato mayor Joselito Piñol, who was also reelected as vice-president.

Also boosting Mr. Araneta’s candidacy was the entry of three Philippines Football League (PFL) clubs Ceres Negros FC, Kaya Iloilo and Stallion Laguna, which were able to secure voting rights after their membership to the PFF was approved earlier during the PFF Congress.

The PFF, under Mr. Araneta, is fully supportive of the PFL as it sees it as very important since it gives younger players a place to aspire for.

The PFL is set to welcome a new sponsor in Qatar Airways beginning next season.

Mr. Araneta said his four-year plan for the federation include more infrastructure with the impending completion of the National Training Centre in Carmona, Cavite, as well as the establishment of more age-group tournaments, something the PFF was hit for under his watch.

The PFF president said the entry of Qatar Airways would allow flexibility for funds to be channelled to youth tournaments.

“All the money we usually spend for the league will now be plowed back to the development of the youth,” said Mr. Araneta.

The PFF started the Under-15 tournament this year and next year will have the Under-17.

Women’s youth tournaments are also being considered to further grow women’s football to go hand-in-hand with the three-year-old PFF Women’s League.

Despite losing his bid for the PFF presidency, Mr. Yanson said “life goes on” for him and vowed to continue his advocacy for the sport through NOFA and give his support to the federation.

“I graciously acknowledge the victory of Mr. Mariano “Nonong” Araneta and sincerely wish him well as the new president of the Philippine Football Federation,” said Mr. Yanson in a statement.

“Life goes on for me. I will continue to help Philippine Football through the ‘Football Para Sa Lahat’ advocacy. I will continue the programs we’ve begun in Negros Occidental and will wholeheartedly partner with PFF in endeavors just like NOFA has done in the past,” he added.