By Mario Casayuran
Boxing icon Sen. Emmanuel D. Pacquiao sought to amend the country’s existing laws on sports by strengthening the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) through ‘’defined functions’’ in the field of grassroots development, sports science, sports medicine, sports services, and research.
‘’Yes, our goal is to bring home that highly elusive gold medal in the Olympics,’’ Pacquiao said in a recent privilege speech before his colleagues in the 24-member Senate.
Pacquiao, chairman of the Senate sports committee, emphasized that it is time to revisit Republic Act 6847 which gave birth to the PSC 28 years ago.
This despite the job of the PSC of having ‘’established various sports programs and events that harnessed the potential amateur athletes such as Elma Muros, Onyok Velasco, Roel Velasco, Lydia de Vega, Mona Sulaiman, Paeng Nepomuceno, Eugene Torre, to name a few,’’ he said.
Pacquiao admitted that the Philippines has not been performing well in recent international sporting tournaments.
‘’We have a deep fountain of talents among our hardworking athletes. We are not even lacking in skills,’’ he added.
Pacquiao said it took 20 years for the Philippines to win a medal in the Olympics, courtesy of Hidilyn Diaz after Mansueto (Onyok) Velasco won a silver medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
‘’What went wrong?’’’ he asked.
One reason, according to Pacquiao, is budget allocation where the country is rated poorly.
‘’Another reason is the poor sports facilities in our country. They are dilapidated and outdated. Without the proper support from the national government and without the necessary training program, pure talent can only achieve so much,’’ he added.
‘’One of the salient points we wish to institutionalize is giving priority to our amateur athletes – our homegrown talents – the way we do for elite athletes,’’ Pacquiao explained,
This would ensure that every athlete with potential shall be given equal opportunity to showcase his talent and represent the country, he added.
Pacquiao said the role of the PSC as a whole must be strengthened through partnerships with different stakeholders such as the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Local Government Units (LGUs), among others.
‘’Legislating this will finally institutionalize the partnerships because the status quo is only dependent on executive orders or memoranda that may be revoked anytime at will of the issuing authority,’’ he added.
‘’Yes, it is our aim to cement our flag in the podium for every international sporting tournament,’’ he said.