Pacquiao seeks PSC reforms to aid athletes

Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao

SENATOR Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao yesterday said Filipino amateur athletes may get greater assistance from the government under the package of reforms for the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) now being tackled by the Senate.

Pacquiao, chairperson  of the Senate Committee on Sports, said the Senate is working on the “long-needed” reforms under Senate Bill No. 1515, or the Expanded Philippine Sports Commission Act of 2017, now in advanced stages of legislation.

“It is high time we amended our existing law to better address the needs of our brave athletes. We need to strengthen the role of the PSC as an institution governing our national sports program,” he said.

Pacquiao said the bill, which amends the existing Philippine Sports Commission Act (RA 6847), will require the PSC to take a more defined and pro-active function in the field of “grassroots development, sports science, sports medicine, sports services and research.”

“One of the salient points we wish to institutionalize is giving priority to our amateur athletes -- our homegrown talents -- the way we do for elite athletes. This ensures that every athlete with potential shall be given equal opportunity to showcase their talent and represent our country,” he added.

The bill likewise “makes sure that every need of athletes are well maintained, from coaches to billeting to medical needs.”

The updated policies, Pacquiao said, will not be limited to sports events handled by the National Sports Associations, but would also cover other physical fitness and recreational programs.

To bolster support for the PSC’s programs, the bill also calls for the commission to engage in partnerships with different stakeholders such as the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, local government units, among others.

“Legislating this will finally institutionalize the partnerships because the status quo is only dependent on executive orders or memorandum that may be revoked anytime at the will of the issuing authority,” he said.

The reforms, Pacquiao said, have the ultimate goal of promoting excellence among Filipino athletes.

“Yes, our goal is to bring home that highly elusive gold medal in the Olympics. Yes, it is our aim to cement our flag in the podium for every international sporting tournament,” he said.

Pacquiao lamented how the country has not performed well in recent sporting tournaments, noting the 20-year gap between the silver medal in boxing won by Onyok Velasco at the 1996 Olympics, and the silver medal in weightlifting won by Hidilyn Diaz at the 2016 Olympics.