Latest Stories


Lending a presidential ear to sports


IT’S AN idea as old as time: Make a cabinet level sports department a reality.

So why would Michael Keon, a former president of the Philippine Olympic Committee, dust off the cobwebs and present it like a fresh notion?

“Because it is about time sports gets closer to the ear of any sitting President of the land,” Mike says.

Keon, a former governor of Ilocos Norte—arguably the most sports conscious of provinces during his watch—is again batting for a full-blown Department of Sports, with a few new wrinkles.

Mike, whose Gintong Alay Program under the regime of his uncle, Ferdinand Marcos, remains the gold standard for long-term athlete development, bats for the abolition of the Philippine Sports Commission.

He argues that a well-funded cabinet department that would include liaison officers from the Department of the Interior and Local Governments, the POC and the Department of Education would do the trick.

This setup, he says, would help centralize our sports system like those of Cuba, Jamaica and giants like China and the United States while “bringing sports back to the grassroots where they start their way up to Olympic heights.”

You don’t need to log on to Google Earth to find where athletes are. Mike says a ground force of local government units and school officials already knows where to tap a battalion of prospects.

The biggest bonanza of all, Keon says, is that during cabinet meetings, the secretary of sports, like his colleagues, will have equal time with the President to advocate for sports as a tool for nation-building.

Cito Dayrit, who took over the POC helm in 1999, has his own take on the issue.

Dayrit recalls that a bill was sponsored in Congress a while back to create a so-called Philippine Sports Authority on a department level. But the legislation withered on the vine and died eventually.

“Since a new department entails a new budget, creating it will require a high level of decision-making on the part of any president with bigger fish to fry,” Dayrit says.

Dayrit won’t say for sure that a sports czar with a cabinet portfolio is a great idea, although in his mind, it could be workable.

“Regardless of the organization, it will be the people who will run it that eventually determines its success,” according to Dayrit. “In any case, we need the right people with the right vision to make things happen.”

“We don’t need another bureaucracy,” says Arthur Macapagal. “We need more focus.”

Art, an Olympic shooter in his time, definitely would have had the ear of his half-sister, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, had he won the POC presidency in 2008.

“Despite heavier burdens to bear, any sitting president is tuned in to sports,” according to Macapagal.

Art says a surefire formula to snag the attention of the president is for our athletes to bring home medals from sports competitions abroad.

“Long-term training and specialization in the Olympic sports are the keys,” he stressed, echoing Keon’s stand on athlete buildup.

* * *

Today’s our traditional Yuletide gift-giving to 100 or so indigent families of Tamurong Primero, Candon City, Ilocos Sur. Thanks to Emma Gonzaga Soquerata, Raffy Baraan, Butch Velasco, Fidel Dacquel Jr. and our daughters Teresa, Louella and Lana in Sacramento, California, for lending support in cash and in kind.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Philippine Olympic Committee , Sports

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  2. Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  3. Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  4. Freddie Roach: I’m satisfied; Manny Pacquiao did well
  5. Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  6. Ginebra’s new import Freeman arrives, makes PBA return vs ROS
  7. After Pacquiao, BIR chief Henares runs after boxing fans
  8. My ideal weight is 140, declares Pacquiao
  9. Mommy Dionisia explains ‘vodoo’ act vs Bradley
  10. Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  1. ‘Mommy D’ steals show as son fights
  2. Pacquiao wins unanimous decision vs Bradley to reclaim WBO title
  3. Pacquiao: I’m ready for Mayweather bout
  4. Manny Pacquiao: I’ll have everything back
  5. Mommy Dionisia explains ‘vodoo’ act vs Bradley
  6. Pacquiao punching power ‘way harder’ in first fight—Bradley
  7. Wrestling star Ultimate Warrior’s cause of death revealed
  8. My ideal weight is 140, declares Pacquiao
  9. Pacquiao ‘strong, faster’ for tiff
  10. Bradley to Pacquiao: You better be ready
  1. ‘Mommy D’ steals show as son fights
  2. Pacquiao wins unanimous decision vs Bradley to reclaim WBO title
  3. Pacquiao: I’m ready for Mayweather bout
  4. Mayweather surprise visitor to Bradley camp
  5. Bradley won’t last distance– Peñalosa
  6. Manny Pacquiao: I’ll have everything back
  7. Mommy Dionisia explains ‘vodoo’ act vs Bradley
  8. Pacquiao punching power ‘way harder’ in first fight—Bradley
  9. Wrestling star Ultimate Warrior’s cause of death revealed
  10. Tapering off: Pacquiao already at 147 lb


  • US urges Myanmar to ease tensions
  • Little known jihadist group vows new Egypt attacks
  • Chelsea Clinton pregnancy
  • Call for sanctions against N. Korea over abuses
  • Pope washes feet of disabled, including elderly Muslim
  • Sports

  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Hopkins, 49, seeks win for the ageless
  • LeBron still No. 1 with NBA’s most popular jersey
  • Pacquiao back in PH, heads home to wife, kids
  • Vietnam pulls out of hosting Asian Games due to lack of funds
  • Lifestyle

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Entertainment

  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • Business

  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • US stocks end mostly higher after earnings deluge
  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • Marketplace