Who is charge of the country’s grassroots development program?
That was what Party-List Rep. Mikee Romero (1Pacman) found out during the two-day sports summit and consultative meeting among the country’s stakeholders that ended last Friday.
Without an official group that will handle and nurture fresh talents, their true potential to become future champions can’t be fully realized.
“I asked PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) officials and DepEd (Department of Education) officials who’s in charge of grassroots sports. No one could give the answer. Nagturuan,” said Romero, who is pushing for the creation of a Department of Sports so that the country can come up with a solid grassroots development program.
“Not until we find the answer to this question will we ever come up with a solid grassroots program,” added Romero.
Romero said the Department of Education and the Philippine Sports Commission can’t be blamed for the current state of Philippine sports since their roles are only minimal.
“Imagine our young students taking P.E. (Physical Education) classes for less than one hour the whole week,” he said.
Though the Palarong Pambansa, a nationwide multi-sport competition organized by Dept. of Education for student athletes, has discovered several great athletes in the past, including former Asian sprint queen Lydia de Vega, it does not serve its purpose fully well.
“How many events are played in the Palarong Pambansa? They don’t even play all the Olympic sports there. Last time I checked, weightlifting is not even included in its calendar,” said Romero, referring to the sport that delivered a silver in the recent Rio Olympics.
“I asked officials on the absence of weightlifting in school-based events and the only reason I got was that officials thought that kids who go into weightlifting at a very young age don’t grow,” he said.
“We want to discover talents at the youngest age possible, and not when they are already grown-ups. Normally, these talents are discovered by the NSAs only because they start winning their events,” he said.