The SEA games: The PSC’s shining hour
December 02, 2019 - Monday 4:12 AM by Jimmy Laking
With an allotment of P6 billion, the 2019 SEA Games from November 30 to December 11 this year is one of the largest undertakings of the Duterte administration.
The SEA games has come a long way since 1958 when Luang Sikhum Nayaoradit, then Vice-President of the Thailand Olympic Committee, conceived of the regional sports events to help promote cooperation, understanding, and relations among the countries in the Southeast Asian region.
This grouping was initially composed of Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Philippines, Brunei, and Thailand joined the group in 1975. East Timor joined later.
In all, around 8,750 athletes from these countries will compete in the 56 sports events at stake.
With the SEA Games as a stepping stone, some of the countries participating have been able to produce champions in the Olympics. The Philippines on the other hand has been able to produce only three silvers in the Olympics, two in boxing and one in weightlifting, over a 40-year span.
What makes the 2019 SEA games significant for the Philippines is the noticeable improvement of most of the national sports associations in cleansing their own ranks and in getting their acts together for the sake of sports. The credit towards this transformation goes to the Philippine Sports Commission that made it clear from the start of the Duterte administration that only those that were able to liquidate funding and practice good housekeeping will avail themselves of financial assistance. I was told many complied but it took years before the wayward NSAs were able to toe the line.
So in essence, the holding of the SEA games can be seen as the PSC’s shining moment.
The controversies notwithstanding (which the PSC had nothing to do with), the fact that the playing venues and accommodation (to include ‘teething concerns’ or food) proved to be to the satisfaction of the participants is a testament to the PSC’s efficiency. It was only unfortunate that as usual, the Manila-based media pounced on several glitches that cannot be avoided considering the scope and enormity of the event.
With the success of the SEA Games, the PSC has firmed up its position as one of the administration’s saving graces. Where other government agencies are content to plod along, the PSC has raised the bar of good governance several rungs higher. Its grassroots sports program, for instance, in partnership with the Department of Education and local government units is turning out a game changer.
It is a stroke of genius.
The one thing that stood out is that the PSC pursued its role with a clear vision and firmness.
With the holding of the 2019 SEA Games as barometer and with the world class facilities in New Clark City in place, the PSC can now look forward to hosting bigger sports events that would help accelerate the development of Philippine sports to a new level.
Who knows, in a short while, it may be able to discover just the talents that would deliver this country its first gold in the Olympics. It is no wishful thinking.
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