Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV is pushing the national sports associations (NSAs) to begin the much-needed reforms in the sector by installing a more vision-oriented leadership in the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
“For decades, sports development in the country failed to move forward and has consistently been derailed from its tracks due to lack of clear vision and necessary will for reforms,” Trillanes said.
At a Senate hearing of the Committee on Amateur Sports, which is looking into the status of sports development in the country, Trillanes described POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco as “the greatest stumbling block to sports development.”
“The way I see it, we must expect more dismal performances from our athletes unless our NSAs elect a new POC president and replace Mr. Cojuangco,” he said.
Trillanes explained that Cojuangco’s leadership has failed to provide a clear vision and concrete programs to steer the country’s program in the right direction. Mr. Cojuangco’s failure, he said, is highlighted by the fact that during his term as POC president, the country has not received a single medal during the past two Olympics.
“We recognize the talent of our Filipino athletes and their display of perseverance, dedication, moral courage, strength of character and competitive spirit in various athletic competitions. It is very evident, however, based on our recent performances in global and regional competitions, that these traits and attitude are not enough for our country to win medals. We need a new champion for our sports programs who is gifted with vision and skills to instill grass root development and promote sports excellence,” said Trillanes, who chairs the Senate committee.
In a bid to improve the sports program in the country and raise sports as a national priority, Trillanes filed Senate Bill 3092 seeking to create the Department of Sports. This agency will formulate policy, plan, coordinate, implement, promote and develop sports and physical fitness in the country.
Trillanes is also supporting a proposed measure creating the Philippine High School for Sports in order to institutionalize efforts for talent pooling and training of young athletes to produce future champions.
To complete these efforts, Trillanes is pushing for an extensive grassroots sports program through the revival of the mandatory sports intramurals in all public schools and the strengthening of the physical education programs.
“Thus, it is not only our aim to promote sports excellence as a galvanizing force for national unity and as source of national pride, but also as a character-building mechanism for youth development,” Trillanes explained. #