Why isn’t DepEd involved?
The squabble among our leaders in sports apparently will not end despite the imminent debacle facing our country’s contingent in the coming Southeast Asian Games. It all started with the overstaying Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) head who, despite his age, is in “denial of retirement” and dug deeper into a rule book to foil moves to place him on the rightful seat—the rocking chair.
Now, his invincibility is being challenged by an official of the Philippine Sports Commission who has raised the specter of unliquidated funds over the old man. But the POC chief quickly turned the public eye on the PSC commissioner whose legendary career as a professional cager was once put under a cloud of game-fixing.
The drama between El Presidente Mon Fernandez and Ka Peping Cojuangco is accompanied by endless infighting among officials of national sports associations, who apparently have forgotten their commitment to serve the country and athletes first,
before their spoiled egos.
These leaders called for unity after the Rio Olympics. They held a sports summit and, recently, created a sports institute. Convinced that this unprecedented move will drive the country’s quest for supremacy in sports, they called for the involvement of all sports stakeholders—except the one institution that controls the grassroots which is the largest source of potential sports talents and greats in the country, the Department of Education.
Why was the DepEd shut out of the sports summit? Why was it not involved in designing the sports institute? These questions linger in our minds with the back thought that our so-called sports leaders must have realized that they could not outsource funds from the DepEd—as they can from the PSC or local government units whose multimillion-peso allotments they can disburse without the burden of liquidation.
The DepEd is the only institution that consistently holds a sports competition—in fact, the biggest—for young talents every summer. Is Palarong Pambansa not a credible breeding ground for future national athletes? And our sports leaders are now abandoning grassroots development by resorting to shortcuts—that is, by recruiting athletes with foreign blood.
We all want to do our part in winning that elusive Olympic gold for our country. Obviously our so-called sports leaders who claim to have produced the brightest ideas in this pursuit still need an effective backup. Getting the DepEd involved in this quest could be the real game-changer.
CHRISTOPHER G. ARELLANO, firstname.lastname@example.org
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