- 30th SEAG
While keeping its commitment to make the coming 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) a success, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) retained and even exceeded its support to grassroots sports development in adherence to President Rodrigo Duterte's vow of bringing sports closer to his people.
The government has spent more than P500 million for sports development in the country in 2018 and the first half of 2019 alone, even as it continues to provide more as the year nears its last month and with the SEA Games, which the country is hosting just days away.
PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez yesterday disclosed that almost P340 million was spent various grassroots programs catering to all sectors in the country worthy of sports access and services in 2018 alone.
From January to June of 2019, meanwhile, an additional funding of P170 million was shelled out by the PSC continuing its mandate to make sports accessible to all.
“It is government's commitment, as mandated to the PSC by President Duterte, to keep the people actively involved in sports. From children to citizens as old as I am, we all should have our own access to sports as the President and most members of his Cabinet do and have, from time to time,” Ramirez said.
“It is for these projects that the PSC, through the very generous support of the PAGCOR and its chairman, Ms. Andrea Domingo, rehabilitated its major facilities, which by coincidence, will now also be used for the SEA Games after the Phisgoc had initially attempted to bring all the major sports in Clark and Subic,” Ramirez said.
“The PSC venues will be available in time for the SEA Games as they will be available ahead of the other grassroots and elite sports programs the agency has for next year. The PSC's wholistic sports programs will be more active starting this month with these newly-refurbished facilities.”
The PSC’s premier programs such as the Batang Pinoy-- the national competition where budding local talents below 15-years old are discovered and honed, received P220 million in less than two years.
This year, the PSC spent P154 million for the program.
The Children’s Games (CG), the agency’s ongoing project in the Mindanao region which started in 2017 and has catered to over 24,000 children to date, received an additional P7.5 million for the earlier part of 2019 on top of the P33 million spent for it in 2018.
Over 30 Children’s Games and Consultative Planning and Coaches seminars had been conducted and are still set to take place.
The war-ravaged and hard-to-reach areas of Marawi, Compostela Valley, Davao region and Misamis Occidental became the areas of concern for the CG efforts this year, although President Duterte has given these places his special concern.
“The PSC is not just about funding the elite competitions where the more famous Filipino athletes continue to rise,” Ramirez said. “It is President Duterte, himself, who mandated the PSC 'to bring sports to the periphery and involve the children,'" Ramirez added.
The PSC's programs for the national athletes remains a priority, though.
The Philippine National Games, the country’s national "Olympics" where athletes for the national team are pooled from, received P68 million solely for 2018.
For the year 2018 and the first half of 2019, almost P19 million was given to the government's Gender and Development, Indigenous People’s programs, and Laro’t Saya sa Parke initiatives.
Other programs where the PSC actively focuses on are the Philippine Sports Institute’s projects, other grassroots sports programs and the prestigious Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, and the Olympics.
"So far, we have been faithful to this mandate. We have visited provinces which have never been visited by the PSC or any other sports program before," shared the sports chief.
The Grassroots Sports Coaching and Development Program regularly held for the past two years has reached 26 provinces, mostly rural areas.
Approaching the 30th SEA Games, the sports agency continues to conduct its programs it has started since two years before while providing financial assistance to the athletes in the national team. "Our mandate is two-pronged, support the elite and grassroots sports. We want to establish a strong and deep grassroots base because we know that it ultimately redounds to the elite. They will have a bigger pool to choose from," said Ramirez.PR