Sports godfather Mikee Romero pushes for the creation of Department of Sports (DoS) that will take care of usual problems in sports including funding, training programs for athletes, sports facilities and a strong grassroots development program.
“Establish a Department of Sports and we can address all the problems that beset Philippine sports a long time ago. I think structural changes should be done right now,” said Romero, who is seeking congressional seat through 1-Patriotic Coalition of Marginalized Nationals (1-PACMAN) Partylist.
Romero underscored the need to make a solid program for athletes competing in international competitions such as the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and the prestigious Olympics Games.
He was actually part of the Philippine delegation to the 2012 edition of the Olympics held in London, England that went home empty-handed.
“That should have been a wake-up call but our officials did nothing to improve the plight of our athletes. There are no results-oriented sports programs that’s why we are lagging behind big time. Even Vietnam and Singapore athletes are now more superior over our athletes,” Romero stressed.
Since joining the Olympics in 1924, the Philippine only produced nine medals—two silvers and seven bronzes—with Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco winning the last medal—a silver in boxing —in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
“It saddens me to see Filipino athletes suffer embarrassing setbacks from their better prepared rivals so it’s high time to have permanent solutions to what ails Philippine sports. I’m puzzled who, on record; we have only nine Olympic medals since joining the Games in 1924. Nine medals in 89 years. Imagine, one medal for every 10 years?,” Romero lamented.
“The transfer of technical knowledge to our athletes and coaches is rather slow. The coaches can’t seem to find promising athletes in the provinces,” he said.
He wants to involve the Philippine Olympic Committee, national sports associations and private sectors across the country in plotting a tripartite approach to Philippine sports.
“The creation of a DoS will certainly assure athletes of a better living condition since it can ask direct help from Malacañang aside from assistance of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and other government agency.”
DoS, according to Romero, will serve as new platform for Philippine sports, the foundation on which to build the blocks of modern and results-oriented sports program.
For starters, Romero owns the GlobalPort franchise in the Philippine Basketball Association. He also steered Harbour Centre to seven straight titles in the Philippine Basketball League before leading the national sports associations of cycling and shooting.
But Romero is no ordinary sportsman being an economic wizard. He has a doctorate degree in finance and economics and earned the distinction as the youngest among 50 richest Filipinos as published by Forbes magazine.