MANILA – Las Piñas City Rep. Mark Villar called for greater support to the Filipino athletes on Friday after the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced that the Philippines has been chosen as one of the three venues for the Olympic qualifying tournaments.
“It is high time that we review policies. Sports should be represented in the Cabinet,” Villar said.
“There is an immense opportunity by which we could use sport to further development, democracy and diversity. A number of nation states have used grass-roots sports-based approaches to forward key reforms in education, employment, health, environment, gender equality and safety of children and youth. I could not see a reason why the Philippines should not follow this precedent,” he added.
Villar, who chairs the House Committee on Trade and Industry, aims to establish a system where private companies, and the government can converge in effectively developing and improving current sports programs, both on the national and local levels.
“This issue is bigger than the upcoming qualifying match. We want to institutionalize sports as a tool by which we could meet immediate, audience-specific goals,” Villar said.
“By strengthening our current sports program, we are not only giving our national teams a bigger shot at winning, we are also providing an effective means of combating drug abuse, and re-emphasizing our advocacy of ensuring work-life balance,” he pointed out.
According to the United Nations, the right of access to and participation in play, recreation, and organized or competitive sport is a fundamental right that has long been recognized in international conventions.