It’s very good to note that the new man at the helm of the government agency tasked to oversee Philippine sports is a sportsman himself and not just someone who earned his spot through political backing.
Newly appointed Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Noli Eala was a former athlete, sportscaster, basketball commissioner and National Sports Association (NSA) official.
There’s no doubt that he has a big shoe to fill. He is taking over from former PSC chair William Butch Ramirez whose leadership was largely credited for helping the country win its first ever Olympic gold medal through lady weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, not to mention the country’s overall championship in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
So what more is needed to be done to keep the Philippines’ pride waving in the international arena?
“The blueprint to success is very simple,” Eala said, referring to coaching, sports psychology, proper nutrition, international exposure, and the needed infrastructure or training venues.
“But everything starts with a vision. Everything starts with a plan. We are all allies. We are all partners in bringing forward the agenda of Philippine sports,” Eala added.
With around a thousand national elite athletes and millions of young Filipinos in the grassroots, there is not enough war chest for Eala and the PSC.
Eala needs support from the private sector, just like in the old days of President Bongbong Marcos’ father, former president Ferdinand Marcos, did with his pet Project Gintong Alay.
“By harnessing the support of the private sector, we can create more Hidilyn Diazes and Caloy Yulos. This is the vision behind the new Gintong Alay that we want to build,” he said.
But the glory that was Gintong Alay was set in a different environment. It was the time when FM’s word was enough to compel one business firm to support a particular athlete.
The economy is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and most businesses are still struggling to keep up in these harsh times.
What the PSC can do is dig deep into the tax incentive system that the past PSC leaderships have failed to maximize.
There’s a provision in the PSC law that private businesses that will spend on sports sponsorship can apply for a tax credit.
There was no clarity in this provision that even the PSC could not guarantee the exact amount or percentage that could be given to the private sector that will sponsor athletes or sports events recognized by the PSC.
If the PSC and the Bureau of Internal Revenue could come up with more specific guidelines on the implementation of this provision, funding would not be much of a problem for the new leadership of PSC.
If this happens, more funding will pour in and more help will go to the sporting community.