Congress rallies behind Dep’t of Sports plan
THE CALL to create a Department of Sports is gaining traction among the country’s lawmakers.
1-Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero said his fellow sports-minded peers at the House of Representatives are solidly pushing for the creation of the new department, which he said would give direction to the national sports program.
“Congress has thrown its all-out support for the DoS and we’re hoping that it can be done in three years,” Romero said yesterday during the consultative meeting organized by the Philippine Sports Commission among top sports officials and stakeholders.
With the department’s creation, Romero said concerns over sports infrastructure, recruitment of potential national athletes and financial assistance for and retirement benefits of athletes would be addressed.
PSC chair William Ramirez agreed that a sports department will be more relevant than the sports agency, which takes care of grassroots sports development and the training and exposure of elite athletes.
“I hope the government is prepared for (its creation) because it involves budget and manpower,” said Ramirez.
The meeting hopes to craft a master plan for local sports and the establishment of the Philippine Sports Institute.
The only point of argument, Ramirez explained, is the possibility that national sports associations might no longer receive aid from the national sports development fund (NSDF) to fund their programs.
The NSDF comes from the PSC’s revenue share from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
Ramirez said the secretary of sports would have direct access to the President.
Romero, vice chair of the House committee on youth and sports headed by Pangasinan Rep. Conrado Estrella III, filed House Bill No. 287 seeking the creation of the department. Sen. Manny Pacquiao is expected to file a parallel bill in the Senate.
“It’s not easy to create a law, but our lawmakers are determined.” said Ramirez. “It might become a law in three years.”
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