MANILA - Presidential adviser on sports Dennis Uy on Monday, January 16, committed to raise P1 billion to augment the funds of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) during the milestone launch of the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) at the PhilSports Multi-Purpose Arena in Pasig City.

Uy said that the PSC, which has been receiving roughly P1 billion from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) a year, needs more funds for the country to perform better in international competitions just like its other counterparts in Southeast Asia (SEA).

"I will help augment the budget from Pagcor by raising P1 billion from sports loving business people to hopefully support the programs of the PSI," Uy said during the event that was attended by over 1,000 athletes and coaches, presidents and officials of national sports associations, members of the House of Congress led by Committee on Youth and Sports Development chairperson Conrado Estrella III, representatives from the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, PSC staff, media and other stakeholders.

Uy added he is saddened by the fact that the Philippines has not won any gold medal in the olympics compared to other countries in the SEA region and other smaller countries which have bigger budget than PSC has been receiving.

He, meanwhile, lauded PSC Chairman William "Butch" Ramirez for the initiative of launching the PSI, which according to him is aligned with the sports management directives of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Keynote speaker Leoncio Evasco Jr., for his part, thanked the PSC for a full strategic thrust in line with the President's plans for sports.

"I'd like to thank the PSC for giving sports the institutional support it deserves as a center of excellence for the advancement of human national pride in accordance with the president's grassroots change," Evasco said, adding that the president's marching order is that all funds must be used in Flipino tangible sports even in far-flung areas and rural regions.

Evasco also said that sports should not be treated as only for the elite but for athletes to experience well-rounded lives including the gifted who have not trained, those who have the potentials in Mindanao, Visayas and North Luzon.

Evasco then cited Senator Manny Pacquaio and Asian Games long jump medalist Elma Muros Posadas "who fought their way to become highly respected individual because of sports."

"Let us make exceptions to the rule. Emphasis in sports, past athletes coming to life in the different parts and will be with us in the future. We also have high hopes that a stronger grassroots will contribute to the prevention of drugs among the youth, we must precisely engage our youth, we want them to stay away from drugs and other harmful things," Evasco said.

Meanwhile, Ramirez said the journey has been and will still be rough and difficult but with the PSI, "there is a big hope for us."

He underscored sports science, high performance training for elite athletes and strengthen grassroots sports development programs through establishing of 10 regional training centers under the supervision of PSI national training director Marc Edward Velasco.