Taguig 2nd District Rep. Lani Cayetano on Friday called for stronger support for the country’s grassroots sports development, from the municipal level up to the national level.
This after weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, a proud Zamboangueña, won the first ever Olympic Gold medal for the Philippines in almost a century.
“Our local and national governments have a crucial role in the grassroots sports development in the country. We can see that most of the talented athletes that we have come from the provinces,” Cayetano said in Bicolano during her interview with Bombo Radyo Legazpi on July 30.
“However, grassroots sports development remains a pressing problem for our athletes. Most of them do not have access to quality sports equipment for them to hone their skills. Apart from this, they receive a meager financial support from the government,” she added.
Cayetano said she hopes Diaz’s Olympic victory would serve as an eye-opener and prompt the government to give priority to grassroots sports development.
“May Hidilyn’s triumph serve as an inspiration for us to give attention to our athletes, especially the younger ones,” she said.
For Cayetano, the creation of the National Academy for Sports through House Bill No. 5480, which she co-authored with members of the Balik sa Tamang Serbisyo (BTS) sa Kongreso, is a good starting point to realize a better grassroots program.
“The National Academy for Sports will provide full scholarships to our athletes. They will also receive monthly stipends, free board and lodging, and other school needs as well as sports-related needs like training uniforms,” she said.
“If we support the National Academy of Sports, I am certain we will produce more Hidilyns in the future. Let us give our athletes the support they need and I am sure that they will deliver for our country,” she added.