Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

I attended the 2010 Sports Summit last month organized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC). Hon. Ricardo R. Garcia of the PSC presented the state of Philippine sports while Hon. Jose Cojuangco Jr. of the POC delivered the national sports development plan in the next three years.

Garcia was candid to admit that there are many troubling issues besetting the sports sector. On the part of the government, he identified the lack of funds, lack of coordination between agencies, and bureaucracy (problema ng lahat ng ahensiya ito).

He complained that sports bodies are too dependent on PSC funds. He blamed this on the poor support from private sector. In fact, only 5 percent of the Top 1,000 corporations in the country are into sports sponsorships. The PSC chairman added that private support exists when there is vested interest.

Another problem is the weak sports culture among the youth. The PSC has already asked the Department of Education to revive the country’s Physical Education program.

Hopefully, this would also cure the obsession of Filipinos with basketball. According to a survey cited by PSC, basketball (22%) is the most popular game in the Philippines followed by volleyball (9%), jogging (5%), and badminton (3%).

Basketball (45%) is the most watched sports on TV followed by mixed martial arts (23%) and boxing (10%).

Sports and history are top sources of Filipino pride (not true if you ask the Central Bank which recently unveiled new currency designs).

Recognizing the impact of sports on nationalism, the government should address the shortage of sports facilities in the country. In Mindanao, sports centers are accessible only in South Cotabato, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Tubod in Lanao del Norte. In the National Capital Region, sports centers are located in RMSC, PhilSports, UMAK, Rosario Sports Complex, Amoranto, Ynares, and in private sports clubs.

Outside the Rizal Sports Complex, the country’s premier training center, athletes are seduced by drugs, and prostitutes. Some become victims of petty crimes.

Tarlac City has a sports center but it is ten kilometers away from the city center.

The state of Philippine sports is indicated by the poor performance of our athletes in international competitions. What are some lessons to be learned from our experience in the Asian Games in the past 20 years?

We won seven gold medals in boxing, four silver medals in taekwondo, and one silver for equestrian and athletics. For non-olympic sports, we won a gold in wushu, three gold prizes for cue sports, and two gold medals for bowling.

The Philippines has yet to win a medal in badminton, bodybuilding, sailing, sepak, archery, table tennis, volleyball, and fencing, among others.

The PSC believes we could win more medals in judo and weightlifting. It wants to concentrate on weight categories rather on sports that require height advantage like basketball.

The Rugby national team didn’t receive government funding but it gave us a silver medal in the Southeast Asian Games. The cost of supporting the dancesport team which gave us two bronze medals in the Asian Games is only 88,000 pesos per medal. On the other hand, we spent 11.4 million pesos on our dragonboat team but unfortunately, the game was not included in the 2009 SEA games.

How big is the cash problem of the PSC? Its fund sources come from Pagcor (65 percent), customs, horse racing, PCSO and the national budget (25 percent). It is supposed to get 5 percent of PAGCOR earnings but its actual share every year is only 2.4 percent. It needs 120 million pesos a year just to pay the allowances and support services required by our 643 elite athletes and 143 elite coaches.

The government sports budget is very low compared to what our neighbors in the region are allocating for the sports sector. In 2009, Thailand’s sports budget was 3.4 billion pesos while Malaysia allocated 924 million pesos. Meanwhile, the Philippines sports sector received only 213.4 million pesos.

But lack of funds is not the problem alone. The new PSC leadership has vowed to correct the inefficient use of public funds by sports agencies. In 2009, the government spent 266 million pesos on our athletes but it spent 324 million pesos on administration services. Only 53 million pesos was given for sports infrastructure.

The new PSC chairman said that starting this year, more funds will be devoted to the training and support of our athletes instead of bloating the PSC bureaucracy.

Sports revival

The PSC identified four stages of Philippine sports development: grassroots, talent pool, elite, and professional. I learned that professional leagues are available only for basketball, boxing, billiards, and golf. Aside from having no elite training centers in the country, there is also no integrated talent identification program.

What is the sports plan of the PSC and POC? The highlights of the National Sports Development Plan 2011-2013:

– Combine and consolidate Palarong Pambansa and Batang P-Noy (magkakaroon kaya ng target shooting?)
– Palarong Pambansa games are to be held in 5 areas in the country.
– Games should be open to all students; not just public school students
– Medal winners are to be considered for possible recruitment to the national pool
– Retired medal winners are to be given additional training for possible coaching jobs to assist LGUs in their sports activities
– The books of National Sports Associations will be audited by SGV which has offered to do it for free
– Closer monitoring is required for national pool athletes
– Special elite athletes are required to be quartered and away from all distraction (like Facebook?). Special nutrition and psychological assistance to be given according to specific sport
– Sports officials must have had experience and involvement in sports

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6 Responses to “State of Philippine Sports”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mong palatino, sportsslut. sportsslut said: State of Philippine Sports: I attended the 2010 Sports Summit last month organized by the Philip… #sports #boxing […]

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  2. Pinoy sports and patronage…

    Kabataan Partylist Rep. (and friend of the blog) Mong Palatino has an interesting post up at his blog about the state of Philippine sports, after attending a summit organized by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee. The…

    Fire Quinito

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    Karbon » Mong Palatino » Blog Archive » State of Philippine Sports

  5. Hello. I am a graduating student from UP Manila and blog hopping led me here. 🙂 I was wondering if you could answer a survey I made regarding Filipino bloggers. This is for my thesis and answering will only take you a couple of minutes.

    Confidentiality will be of utmost priority. Answering my survey will be very much appreciated. Thanks! 🙂


  6. You have captured the reality of what is happening in Philippine sports and you certainly have opened the eyes of a lot of Filipinos. Hopefully the right people will do something about it. More articles like this is appreciated by the staff of our Philippine sports portal.

    Jason Chan

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