Senator-elect Alan Peter Cayetano on Saturday reiterated the importance of a grassroots sports program to enable aspiring athletes to receive formal training as early as possible.
“For me ang pinakamahalaga, ibalik yung grassroots sports program. Dapat lahat ng eskwelahan natin, from the facilities hanggang doon sa mga nagtuturo at saka yung mga gamit, kumpleto,” Cayetano said in a media interview during the Opening Ceremony of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Season 97 Women’s Volleyball Tournament.
Grassroots sports, often facilitated by small clubs and volunteers from sports organizations, are community-driven sports activities at a local level that are mainly recreational instead of aiming to achieve high levels of performance.
Cayetano pushed for the inclusion of these programs in the education of students, stressing the need to integrate sports in the Philippine curriculum.
“Kahit sabihin nating magfocus tayo sa STEM, sa Science, sa Technology, sa Mathematics, kung wala tayong sports, wala tayong arts, wala tayong culture sa ating curriculum, kung walang facilities, ‘di po magiging buo ang edukasyon ng mga kabataan,” he added.
He said that while there are several big initiatives being done by the government in sports like the inauguration of the National Academy for Sports (NAS), this is not enough for the whole country.
“Unfortunately habang dumadami ang mga estudyante at lumiit ang lupa ng mga elementary at high school natin, ang mga tinanggal na programa ay sa mga arts, sa culture, at sa sports,” Cayetano said.
During his term as House Speaker, Cayetano principally authored House Bill 6312 which proposed the establishment of the National Academy of Sports (NAS) to enhance the athletic skills and talents of Filipino students.
He said this will be a premier training center for Filipino athletes and will be a catalyst that would ignite sports development in the country as it aims to create a world-class grassroots sports program.
“Bakit napakaimportante ng sports? When you talk about discipline, commitment, passion, health, teamwork, lahat yan medyo mahirap ituro sa classroom pero madali ituro sa sports,” Cayetano said.