It’s not about Pacquiao’s next fight
After successfully piggy-backing its way to victory in the 2016 elections, the party-list group 1-Pacman (One Patriotic Coalition of Marginalized Nationals) is finally realizing it has a job to do.
Over two years and six months to the day it won two of the 59 seats reserved for party-list representatives in the 17th Congress, the sectoral group woke up the other day and veered from its motherhood statement of giving jobs to the poor.
At long last, it has zeroed in on its main advocacy—to create the first-ever Cabinet level Department of Sports.
In filing House Bill 287, 1-Pacman Rep. Michael Romero wants such an agency to spearhead its task of leading “the implementation of policies on the promotion and development of sports and health fitness programs in the country.”
In a statement, Romero, a billionaire sportsman, wants the planned department “to address the needs of our athletes, coaches, trainers and sports officials… find solutions to problems besetting Philippine sports, including the lack of a comprehensive national sports program.”
Against the backdrop of the country’s continued debacles in international sports events, Romero’s HB 287 seeks to enhance partnership with various sectors involved in sports, improve obsolete training methods and equipment and establish quality training facilities and sport venues.
Romero and the other 1-Pacman representative, Eric Pineda, have to prove that they did not hoodwink the electorate.
Cleverly named after the moniker of ring icon Manny Pacquiao, the sectoral faction obviously attracted voters because of its bankroll and the popularity of the real Pacman, who once employed Pineda as a business manager.
Both Romero and Pineda are clearly nonmarginalized individuals who now could represent the marginalized based on a Supreme Court ruling.
Originally meant to give relegated sectors a sporting chance at winning elective posts, the party-list system has become simply a tool for traditional politicians, members of powerful political clans, and rich people to get into Congress.
Romero’s brainchild is actually not new. It has been espoused in the past by Michael Keon, erstwhile president of the Philippine Olympic Committee, who says a Secretary of Sports will have the ear of the sitting President and will have quality time with the chief executive in Malacañang to bat for sports.
Cito Dayrit, another ex-POC boss, told the Inquirer a while back that a Cabinet rank for sports could be “workable … with the right people with the right vision to make it happen.”
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