MANILA, Philippines – The Filipino athletes still have days to finish their campaign in the London Games yet the blame game over their performance has already begun.
A lawmaker has proposed the abolition of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for its failure to “improve the field of sports in the country.”
“The miniscule size of the country’s contingent to the quadrennial sports Olympics clearly underlines the lowly stage of our sports development,” said Rep. Mark Aeron Sambar of the Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) party-list in a statement.
Sambar said the PSC has failed to duplicate the successes of past sports heroes like swimmer Akiko Thompson, sprinter Lydia de Vega, long jumper Elma Muros and tanker Eric Buhain.
He said the lack of a comprehensive national sports program, obsolete training methods and the lack of training facilities hampered the local athletes’ performance in international competitions.
The PSC was created back in 1990 to oversee the state of Philippine sports. Its primary function is "to formulate the policies and set the priorities and directions of all national sports promotion and development.”
The PSC also handles the government funding for national athletes.
“After 21 years, the expected improvement and development in the field of sports under the PSC is still wanting,” said the party-list congressman, who proposed the creation of the Department of Sports to replace the PSC.
Of the 11-man Philippine roster to the London Olympics, six athletes have failed to make it to the finals of their respective events.
Still competing are amateur boxer Mark Anthony Barriga, 5,000 meter-runner Rene Herrera, long jumper Marestella Torres, BMX rider Danny Caluag and judoka Tomohiko Hoshina.
Lack of funding
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) chairman Monico Puentevella said that part of the culprit is the lack of funding for the athletes’ training and international exposure.
Puentevella believes the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) is to blame for the continuing budget cut allocation of sports.
Puentevella has been asking Pagcor to restore the 5% gross savings share allocated for sports, as mandated in Republic Act 6847 and approved by former President Corazon Aquino.
“Republic Act 6847 is very clear, when the late (Cory) Aquino implemented the law in 1991... sinasabi dun 5% ng kita ng Pagcor should be given to sports,” said Puentevella.
But during the time of President Fidel Ramos, Puentevella said the 5% Pagcor share was cut in half, or exactly P600 million, although Ramos was willing to fund sports programs whenever necessary.
“I was a commissioner (during the Ramos administration), at humingi s’ya ng special arrangement na gawin munang kalahati, and we agreed,” he said.
“Because in fairness, not only was he the President appointing us, but he was also giving us the right money when we went to ASEAN Games, Olympics, SEA Games.”
“The problem is, all the administrations after Ramos, hindi nila binago. Hindi nila binalik,” Puentavella added. – With a report from Danny Buenafe, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau