Samante: Sports for nation building

Game On!

WITH a new set of elected officials from the midterm elections, we have high hopes that from among them, a significant legislature can be crafted in aid of the country’s sports development program.

The most recent legislature passed was that of Senator Manny Pacquiao’s Republic Act 11224 or the Philippine Sports Training Center Act of 2019, which will provide a state of the art sports center and training facility situated in Sarangani Province.

While health and poverty reduction remains top priority agenda for legislation, promoting an active citizenry thru sports programs can greatly help in addressing health and poverty decline. For, if citizens of this nation are active and healthy, they can definitely find ways in alleviating poverty by involving themselves in other programs of government and civil society organizations crafted in limiting poverty.

While we are at it, here are some legislative agenda for sports that our national leaders can take a look at:

1. Updating the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Charter to include the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) and its immediate functions of promoting grassroots sports vis a vis elite training programs. This would ensure that the PSI will continue to function even with a change in leadership of the PSC.

2. A National Coaches Accreditation Program for all sports events to safeguard the training of all athletes as well as uplift the self-worth of coaches handling various events.

3. Unified sports development program leading to better chances for athletes to make it to the national training pool and ultimately the national teams.

For instance, Batang Pinoy can be focused on elementary student-athletes while having Palarong Pambansa for secondary unit athletes. Prisaa, Unigames and UAAP can be the last leg of this unified sports program. In this manner, grassroots athletes can be trained and monitored as early as their elementary participation.

In the local landscape, here are several suggestions as well:

1. A comprehensive sports development program crafted by the LGU’s sports division in collaboration with the DepEd and other stakeholders. An LGU led program supported by various stakeholders from both government and civil society can ensure maximum participation for all.

2. Maximizing the potential of sport tourism especially among the coastal areas. This can become a worthwhile engagement in promoting an active lifestyle while providing a livelihood for the community. Siargao, Samal, and Mati are prime examples of this. Probably other coastal areas can follow suit. After all, we are an archipelago.

Hopefully, our elected leaders can consider sports as a potential path for nation building.


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