Grassroots sports bid of PSC backed

Two sports leaders in Davao City on Thursday have expressed their unqualified support to the grassroots sports program initiated by the state-run Philippine Sports Commission as a “realistic and sustainable approach in developing sports nationwide.”

“It is the only way we could develop sports in a sustainable manner,” Lita Montalban, regional president of the Private Schools Athletic Association told the Davao Sportswriters Association forum at the SM Ecoland.

She said the promotion of grassroots sports has been underscored by PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez in his meetings with sports associations and organization, especially those based in private and public schools.

“It is a direction we are taking although we are still in the planning stage,” she said, adding the program will also involve out-of-school youths and will be pursued in all sports, to include ball games, table games, track and field, and combat sports like Tae Kwon Do, Judo, and Arnis.

Montalban said embedded in the program is the upgrading of referees and coaches as well as in the conduct of sports.

“Our referees and coaches especially those in areas who are not exposed to sports should undergo intensive training as a way to upgrade the conduct of sports,” she said.

Juanito Cansino, Jr., vice-president of the Philippine Tennis Association conceded that the future of Philippine sports has brightened with the new leadership of the PSC.

“It is up to him now,” said Cansino, referring to Ramirez.

He said that for a start Ramirez should look into the Constitution and By-Laws of the different national sports association “some of which were turned into virtual corporations by those running them.”

He cited the case of his association that has not seen an election for two years. “When I asked around, I discovered the regional set-ups were scrapped although I am still recognized as vice-president,” he said.

He said the promotion of grassroots sports will widen the mass base in the selection of young sports talents.

“The results may not come overnight but we are assured of a pool of talents in the grassroots from which to choose from,” he said.

He said that in contrast, some national sports association made it a habit of seeking subsidies from PSC only to spend it on Fil-Americans who are to be compensated in dollars.

“It is a system whereby our talents only end up as alternates,” he said.

Montalban announced the holding of a district meet involving participants from 25 schools in the city on February 18, as a prelude to the regional PRISAA in Tagum in March.

Cansino, on the other hand, said the Mindanao qualifying for lawn tennis will also unfold this week in Davao City  featuring stand-outs from local colleges and universities.