MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ national sports associations (NSAs) need to work with local governments in order to help the development of the country’s sports programs, Vice-President Jejomar Binay said in a statement.
Binay believes that the country’s best hope for an Olympic medal hinges on the development of sports programs at the grassroots level.
“In my last engagement with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), we called on our LGUs (local government units) to help send fresh blood through our Olympic veins,” Binay said during the homecoming reception for Filipino athletes who competed in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games at the Coconut Palace last Friday.
“Our national sports associations need to work hand in hand with local government units who have the funds for sports programs and launch local programs to identify and develop our athletes,” he added.
Binay said NSAs can take a cue from boxer Mark Barriga, who is a product of a grassroots boxing program in Davao del Norte, which was initiated by former Cong. Tonyboy Floirendo.
Barriga was the only athlete in the Philippine delegation to advance past the first round of competition.
“We should push for a strategy that will strengthen grassroots sports programs, like the one supported by the visionary former congressman,” Binay said.
Binay pointed out that the Velasco brothers, Roel and Mansueto, who won medals in the Barcelona and Atlanta Olympics were also products of a grassroots boxing program.
Moreover, the Philippines can learn from the example of its Southeast Asian neighbors like Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand who managed to get medals in this year’s Olympic Games, Binay said.
“Naniniwala ako na kapantay lamang natin ang mga bansang ito kung pisikal na kakayahan at abilidad ang pag-uusapan,” Binay said. “Subalit, mayroon silang malinaw na bisyon kung saang sport sila mangingibabaw.”
“Doon nila ibinubuhos ang kanilang pagpupunyagi sa pag-linang ng kanilang mga atleta,” he added.