House to finalize bills on creating Department of Sports

The House committees on government reorganization and youth and sports development chaired by Reps. Xavier Jesus Romualdo (Lone District, Camiguin) and Conrado Estrella III (Party-list, ABONO), respectively, on Tuesday created a Technical Working Group (TWG) that will harmonize various measures seeking the creation of a Department of Sports.

The decision to create a TWG was arrived at by the two panels during a joint hearing on House Bill 65 authored by Reps. Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City), PBA Party-list Reps. Jericho Jonas Nograles and Mark Aaron Sambar ; HB 287 by Rep. Michael Romero (Party-list, 1-PACMAN); and HB 3633 by Rep. Cristina Roa-Puno (1st District, Antipolo City).

Romualdo said during the hearing that the rationale of the bills is to create a Department of Sports that will provide the necessary focus, impetus, and adequate funding for the country's sports development program to enable the Filipino athletes to get access to full training and exposure.

The bills seek to abolish the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), with the agency's powers and functions, assets, and properties to be transferred to the new Department of Sports.

"The proposal to create a Department of Sports is a response to the clamor to improve the dismal performance of Filipino athletes in international sports competitions," said Romualdo.

Estrella said the proposal to create a Department of Sports is one of the most important proposals on sports and is long overdue.

"After 27 years since the creation of the PSC, there is still much to be desired and improved in the state of Philippine sports such as the areas of sports facilities, national sports program, athletes and coaches training, funding, among others,"said Estrella.

Estrella cited that most Southeast Asian countries have a Cabinet-level sports agency.

Sambar, in his sponsorship remarks, said his proposal to create a Department of Sports seeks to promote physical education and to encourage sports programs, league competitions, and amateur sports, including training for international competitions to foster self-discipline, teamwork, and excellence for the development of an alert and healthy citizenry.

The creation of a Department of Sports, a cabinet-level agency, will provide leadership in the promotion and development of sports in the country and set the parameters to address the needs of the athletes, coaches, trainers, and sports officials, he said.

"It is high time for the government to prioritize sports in the national agenda and consider sports as an integral factor in nation building," said Sambar.

Members of the two committees expressed support for the passage of the bills. Rep. Prospero Pichay (1st District, Surigao del Sur) said that sports development will promote a healthy citizenry and serve as antidote to drug abuse.

Pichay urged his colleagues to provide adequate funding for a Department of Sports so it can carry out its powers and functions effectively and efficiently.

Rep. Manuel Monsour del Rosario III (1st District, Makati City) said the proposed Department of Sports should also address the following concerns: (1) providing training facilities which are at par with the neighboring countries; (2) good nutrition for athletes; (3) foreign trainings in the athletes' respective sports; (4) exposure in foreign/international competitions; (5) sports facilities so the Philippines can host international competitions.

Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez (1st District, Manila) expressed dismay that the sports sector is a long neglected sector in the country.

Rep. Rogelio Pacquiao (Lone District, Sarangani) expressed support for the proposal and hoped that the committees will expedite the passage of the measure.

William Ramirez, Chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), and former Tarlac Representative now President of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) Jose Cojuangco likewise endorsed the bills.

Source: House of Representatives

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