President Rodrigo Duterte has tasked the Philippine Sports Commission as one of the government’s instruments of peace, on top of its role as the top fund source of the country’s elite sports program.
PSC Chairman William Ramirez disclosed that the agency has given the government’s focus on grassroots sports extra attention, too, following the earlier cancellation of the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
The Marawi siege by terror Maute Group was the game-changer in the President’s decision to focus on the PSC’s grassroots program as he felt the need to include the children and youth’s welfare in the government’s rehabilitation program in Mindanao.
“Those were tough months. The country faced its biggest test yet under President Duterte, who did not take the challenge sitting down,” Ramirez said.
“The President wants total rehabilitation of Mindanao. He wants homes and businesses rebuilt. But most of all, the marching order he gave specifically to the PSC is help secure the future of the youth and children through education and sports,” Ramirez said.
“The earlier cancellation of the country’s hosting of the SEA Games made us focus on that challenge somehow,” Ramirez disclosed. “But when the hosting was revived, through Speaker and PHISGOC Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano, the PSC was ready as always to work with the PHISGOC and the POC in ensuring the event’s success,” he added.
The PHISGOC earlier named New Clark City and Subic as venues for the SEA Games, but as challenges met the PHISGOC preparations, other venues have also been tapped.
The PSC also met the challenge by taking in several events to be held at the fabled Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and the Philsports Arena, which were scheduled for rehabilitation anyway as ordered by President Duterte, himself.
The sprucing up of these venues are part of Malacanang’s program to give new life to other government-owned facilities, including the Teachers’ Camp in Baguio, where athletes are quartered for high-altitude training.
The PSC also completed the rehabilitation of the Mindanao State University and the University of the Philippines-Mindanao’s track ovals and sports facilities for the region’s athletes and youth.
We prioritized UP indanao and MSU with their facilities and conducted Childrens Games and coaching programs to help ease their pain through sports,” Ramirez said. “The PSC also followed the President’s instructions to bring sports to places not usually or have not been touched by sports.”
The PSC also funded the Palarong Pambansa editions in Antique and Davao.
Other PSC programs like the Childrens’ Games, Indigenous Peoples’ Games, Laro’t Saya sa Parke, coaching on developing sports development programs for LGU, coaching courses and other programs to bolster government’s efforts to keep Filipinos active in sports.
The agency also gained headway in sports education via partnerships with USSA, UP and other institutions for scholarships on sports science, sports management and others.
The Batang Pinoy and Philippine National Games are PSC programs which have been consistently showing results on both groots and elite sports with the likes of Hidilyn Diaz, Caloy Yulo and Nesthy Petecio making it big on the global stage, starting from their BP and PNG and PP stints.
“This is not a one project affair for the government and President Duterte is making sure he and the PSC are always on top of the situations demanded by the time,” Ramirez said.