Villar seeks government, private cooperation in sports
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 29, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Las Piñas Rep. Mark Villar yesterday pushed for a strong private-public partnership and representation of sports in the Cabinet as the country prepares for the hosting of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Olympic qualifiers.

Villar made the call after the FIBA announced the Philippines had been chosen as one of three venues for the Olympic qualifying tournaments.

“It is high time that we review policies. Sports should be represented in the Cabinet,” Villar said.

“There is an immense opportunity by which we could use sport to further development, democracy and diversity,” he said.

Villar said a number of countries have used grassroots sports-based approaches to forward key reforms in education, employment, health, environment, gender equality and safety of children and youth.

“I could not see a reason why the Philippines should not follow this precedent,” he said.

Villar, who chairs the House committee on trade and industry, sought the establishment of a system where private companies and the government can converge in effectively developing and improving current sports programs, both on the national and local levels.

“This issue is bigger than the upcoming qualifying match. We want to institutionalize sports as a tool by which we could meet immediate, audience-specific goals,” he said.

By strengthening the country’s current sports programs, Villar said the government and private sector partnership would not only give national teams a bigger shot at winning, but also provide “an effective means of combating drug abuse and re-emphasizing our advocacy of ensuring work-life balance.”

According to the United Nations, the right of access to and participation in play, recreation and organized or competitive sport is a fundamental right that has long been recognized in international conventions, he said.

ACIRC ATILDE BIGGER CABINET INTERNATIONAL BASKETBALL FEDERATION LAS PI MARK VILLAR PRIVATE SPORTS UNITED NATIONS VILLAR
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