PSC, DepEd to work together
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - September 24, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — PSC chairman Butch Ramirez is setting aside a budget of P25 Million to support an initiative with the Department of Education (DepEd) in line with the government agency’s mandate to promote grassroots development in sports. A MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) will be drafted soon to establish the linkage.

“We hope to work together and share the responsibility of developing sports at the grassroots level,” said Ramirez. “The PSC will provide support through coaches and equipment. We will tap NSAs because they have the technical know-how in their specific sports.” At the forefront of the effort is the PSC’s sports science arm PSI (Philippine Sports Institute) which has a monthly allocation of P25 Million.

The PSC previously signed a MOA with the League of Governors to galvanize a working relationship with LGUs (Local Government Units). The PSI’s creation is in accordance with R. A. 6847, empowering the PSC to draw up a genuine grassroots sports program that caters to community sports in towns, cities, municipalities and provinces. The PSI was initiated by former PSC chairman Philip Juico and shelved by succeeding administrations until its revival this year.

“Everything starts from the grassroots level,” said Ramirez. “The PSC can’t do it alone. We will need to collaborate closely with DepEd and the LGUs. This is a partnership. That’s why I’ve been going around provinces for consultative meetings. I was recently in Pangasinan then Abra. From the public sector point of view, officials must show patience in listening to what the coaches, sports coordinators and teachers have to say at the grassroots level. We must recognize their needs and give due attention to what they require. Leadership is critical because identifying potential athletes at a young age involves the human development of children.”

Ramirez said it’s crucial to make sports accessible to the periphery. “The PSC has a duty to lead in the development of sports at the grassroots level and to guide our elite athletes to become world-class,” he said. “We notice that most LGUs lack direction in their sports programs which are mainly basketball, volleyball and boxing events. We realize it’s not easy to serve in government. There are many challenges. But it’s all about using your heart and mind. When we talk of sports development, we also talk of values which are inseparable from sports.”

Ramirez said in two visits to Cuba during his first term as PSC chairman, he was impressed with the Cubans’ love of country. “Cuba has won over 200 Olympic medals yet it’s a poor country with hardly any high-level sports facilities,” he said. “But Cuban athletes compete with passion. Values are ingrained at an early age. There are many lessons we can learn from the Cuban experience. I’ve been fortunate to observe sports institutes in Scandinavian countries, Asia, Europe and Australia and shared responsibility is pivotal in their success. The PSI is our lead vehicle for sports science not only for grassroots development but also for high performance training. We believe the national office must set the direction where the local units will go. This is in terms of coaching, sports science, training and sports nutrition. We’ll sit down to discuss sports priorities and direction as a province. The PSC is capable of providing government support for equipment and supplies. Once we’ve established our partnership, then we’ll move to the next stage which is to set strategy.”

PSI national training director Marc Velasco said with more provincial coaches and physical education teachers exposed to trends in sports science, the performance of athletes in the grassroots will level up. “To attain the purposes of PSI, I strongly solicit all the support from the private and public sectors and all sports stakeholders, in whatever form and kind, so that sports can truly contribute to the development of a healthy citizenry and form athletes at par with the world’s best,” said Ramirez in a statement published in the PSC Newsmagazine.

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