THE Philippine Sports Commission will re-launch the third version of the Philippine Sports Institute next month, and this time the PSC is hoping the PSI will be the engine that drives Philippine sports forward.
The PSI was started in the mid-90s and saw a second incarnation in the mid-2000s. Curiously enough, after a premature death under the administration of Ritchie Garcia, the PSI sees another incarnation in the middle of this decade. Garcia’s action—or inaction—regarding the PSI is rather curious considering how he touted the Cebu Sports Institute and the grassroots program of the Cebu City Sports Commission as the blueprint for Philippine sports.
With Butch Ramirez back at the helm, the PSI is seeing a rebirth of sorts and this time, it’s going to be backed by an administration that supports sports. Heck, I’m told President Rodrigo Duterte himself will grace the launch of the event (Here’s hoping Digong won’t curse the IOC in his speech.)
Though I laud this action of the PSC and like the officials, I think it will change the landscape of Philippine sports, for me, one other important aspect in the country’s sports scene that could change how local government units treat sports is the Philippine National Games.
Like the PSI, if done properly, the PNG will really change the country’s culture as regards sports events and LGUs sports programs wouldn’t be limited to basketball tournaments for voters come election time. The PNG was supposed to be the country’s version of the Olympics and each local government unit was supposed to hold a local eliminations to determine its representative to the PNG.
Somehow, somewhere something got lost in translation and the PSC also lost its vision, resulting to a PNG that saw so many revisions.
This year, the PSC will hold a revived PNG in October in Cebu and I’m hoping the competition returns to its roots, where it becomes the country’s showcase of our best athletes.
The sports calendars of LGUs should incorporate the PNG and the event should be the highlight of their year; meaning any local event should be designed where players participation and training peak in time for the PNG. It’s January, the PNG this year will be in October, that gives LGUs enough time to recruit, form and organize their teams for the major events in the PNG and even hold local eliminations to determine their representatives.
That’s if you have an LGU that is appreciative of sports, not an LGU who only hold sports events for the sake of holding sports events.
The PSI will change Philippine sports, and the PNG too. But unlike the PSI, whose success will be based on the PSC and the NSA, the success of the PNG will be based on the LGUs and the mayors and local sports officials who love to ask and complain, “what are our leaders doing for sports?”
The PNG will give them the chance to act on their visions, if they ever have one.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 12, 2017.
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