Sports development a government concernBy Manolo R. Iñigo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
I COMMEND Jessica Sanchez for saying recently that Phillip Phillips deserves his victory in the American Idol Season 11.
For a real champion, who is humble in victory and gracious in defeat, Jessica embodies the characteristic of a real winner.
Except for losers in the election, who always complain about being cheated, many people have the propensity of giving all sorts of excuses over a loss.
When Baron de Coubertin first developed his vision of the Modern Olympic Games a century ago, his thinking went far beyond merely the establishment of an international sporting event.
His real interest lay in the broader benefits that the Olympics could bring to mankind. He regarded the true Olympian as the embodiment of exemplary morals as well as physical prowess.
Once, long ago, games were held where athletes competed in a spirit of friendship, peace, and harmony. The athletes were pure of heart, noble in spirit, and true in virtue. They cared not only for themselves, but for others.
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After an exhaustive research and debate, herewith are some suggestions worth considering for Philippine sports to survive, grow, and become competitive:
(1) Leaders of both the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission should be men and women of good moral character with long experience in sports. They should serve as role models for other government departments, bureaus, and agencies.
(2) Sports officials should work hard for the welfare of the athletes and coaches. These officials should be honest, transparent and approachable, eliminating the bureaucratic red tape in their respective departments.
(3) These officials should encourage, promote and develop a mass-based sports program in both the public and the private sectors, starting at the barangay level. They should combine efforts with the IOC-recognized POC in all its projects.
(4) Sports officials should not engage in graft and corruption, sexual harassment, drug abuse and technical smuggling, maintaining desirable values and ethics of sports.
According to the late sports journalist nonpareil Teodoro Benigno, amateur sports is a government concern: “Amateur sports, in many countries, has been mobilized in the service of the state. This is not only true for the (former) Soviet Union and the communist countries but for many European countries as well. This is also true for the great majority of countries in Asia.”
As I have often said, there is no salvation for sports without government support. Should this be realized, the Philippines could rise again and regain its lost prestige.
What is wrong with being a politician?
What’s wrong with being in government when that very government helps the cause of sports in general and the athletes in particular? Can we call that government intervention?
Whether we like it or not, sports development is the primary responsibility of the government. While it is true that the private sector plays a key role in sports development, without government support, there is no salvation for sports.
The Constitution declares it as the policy of the State to “protect and promote the right to health of the people and to instill health consciousness among them.” It provides in Art. XIV, Sec. 19 that “the State shall promote physical education and encourage sports programs, league competition, and amateur sports, including training for international competitions, to foster self-discipline, teamwork, and excellence for the development of a healthy and alert citizenry. It further states that “all educational institutions shall undertake regular sports activities throughout the country in cooperation with athletic clubs and other sectors.”
Thus, the government is not a threat to sports development. Government will remain the main sponsor in sports, especially in a developing country like ours.
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