Last Updated on April 28, 2023 by Andrew Pirie

Benjamin Silva Netto

Photo: Ben Silva-Netto, in his younger days pounding the cinder tracks as one of the countries’ best Middle and Long Distance Runners.

First Published 5 May 2018

By Andrew Pirie ATFS Statistician 


Athlete, Coach, and then PATAFA Secretary-General for many years. Benjamin Silva-Netto devoted over half a century to Philippine Athletics.

Yet Sir Ben, fondly known and recalled, is perhaps as paramount even in fact as Reginio Ylanan for his contribution to Philippine Athletics.

Benjamin Silva Netto – The Athlete

Born 27 April 1939 in Naga, Camarines Sur in the Bicol Region

And took up athletics at Trade school in 1959.

Passing through intramurals, Bicol meets.

While the following year, 1960, he joined the BPISAA in Manila. And joined the 1961 National Open.

Provided by Ignacio Dee

The following year, 1962, he became a member of the Philippine Team and was selected for the Asian Games in Jakarta.

Most noteworthy is that Benjamin Silva-Netto was originally a middle distance with a strong rivalry in the early 1960s with Alejandro Cabusora.

While Silva-Netto clocked 1:55.67 at the Asian Games in Jakarta in 1962 and 4:06.3 in the 800 and 1500.

Also, 1:55.67 was back then the national record of the Philippines.

While In 1963, he improved his 1500 to 4:01.6.

Also, he joined up with the Philippine Airforce and held at one time or another national record in 800, 1500, 3K Steeples, 5000, 10000, and Marathon.

Hence Silva Netto moved away from the 800 and 1500 due to the dominance of Cabusora in the event.

While he did win the 1967  1500 in 4:08.4. 

In the 5000m, Silva Netto ran 16:48.2 in 1965, 16:17.6 in 1968 and 16:16.4 in 1969.

And in 10K 32:35.2 in 1968. 

Silva-Netto was the first Filipino to compete in the Marathon in the Olympic Games. He competed in the first full marathon in the Philippines in 1968 in Roxas, Capiz, and won the race.

He went to the 1968 Olympics in Mexico for the 5k 13th in Heat 2 17:10.15 and 10k 32:35.2 (PB).

Silva Netto retired in 1973 from being an athlete.

Benjamin Silva Netto The Coach

Silva Netto met his future wife Lydia Rosalada, his teammate on the national team, a long jumper. 

While finishing up as an athlete.

Hence he became a coach.

While Starting with Ateneo and then eventually the national team.

Under his coaching, Ateneo enjoyed success in winning the Secondary Boys athletic titles starting from 1979 until 2003.

Under his coaching for the 1980s. He became a national coach in 1990.

Benjamin Silva Netto Secretary-General

Benjamin Silva-Netto first served as a technical official before being named by the new PATAFA  President Go Teng Kok as Secretary-General. 

Hence Silva-Netto served as Secretary-General of PATAFA from 1991 until 2014.

While Silva-Netto, during his later years, had spent a lot of time going back and forth as his family lived in America.

And before permanently retiring to America himself.

Benjamin Silva-Netto
Sir Ben, in later years, accompanied Marestella Torres and Rene Herrera to the 2012 London Olympics.




By Andrew Pirie

Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years. He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And Currently is Consultant Coach with VMUF 2021- Current editor and chief of, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program. Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is  Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles. Currently working towards a Masters Degree in Education. He can be contacted on [email protected] You can find more information on Coaching here

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