Sports is a primary responsibility of the state mandated by the Constitution as part of nation-building.
Citing this reason, three former high-ranking Philippine Sports Commission officials welcomed the government’s decision accepting an offer made by the Southeast Asian Games Federation for the country to host the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
“Our Constitution is very clear, the state must recognize the vital role sports plays in building a strong and healthy citizenry,” lawyer Dominador Cepeda, former PSC Officer-In-Charge and chair of the Games and Amusements Board said in defense the government’s reversal of its earlier stand rejecting the offer on account of he on-going war in Marawi City between government troops against ISIS-inspired Muslim rebels.
Sports is a government’s priority and must not be subservient to any natural and man-made problems confronting the nation,” Cepeda reasoned out. “Sports is not a frivolity na kapag nagkaroon ng hindi magandang pangyayari tulad ng kalamidad of kahit na giyera ay iisa-isantabi lamang.”
Cepeda was referring to Article 11 Article 13 of the Declaration of Principles And State Policies of the Philippine Constitution that provides: “The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.”
Sec. 17, on the other hand, mandates: “The State shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and development.”
Article Sec. 19 says: (1) “The State shall promote physical education and encourage sports programs, league competitions, and amateur sports, including training for international competitions to foster self-discipline, teamwork, and excellence for the development of a healthy and alert citizenry.”
(2) ‘All educational institutions shall undertake regular sports activities throughout the country in cooperation with athletic clubs and other sectors,”
“The lest I be misunderstood, I am citing all these to inform our sports officials on the reason why they are in their present positions. And or countrymen who are at a lost why we have to host sports competitions like the SEA Games,” Cepeda said. “Kaya nga ako nagandahan sa series na inilabas ng The Manila Times justifying our hosting.”
Former Philippine Olympic Committee vice and PSC commissioner and ex-PSC chair and be-medalled swimmer Eric Buhain shared Cepeda’s sentiment as both, likewise, hailed the positive action and eventual approval of President Rodrigo Duterte of the project.
“It is the duty of the government to promote sports, physical education, encourage the participation of the youth in sports competitions, local and international as part of its duty to build a disciplined, healthy and alert citizenry,” Dayrit, who is also a lecturer under the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Solidarity program, said.
“Besides, hosting international competitions such as the SEA Games help improve the athletes’ and the country’s relations with people in other countries, particularly the 10 other member-countries in the region,” Buhain, for his part, butted in.
Buhain, winner of six gold medals during the country’s second hosting of the biennial meet in 1991 to collect his second “Most Outstanding Male Athlete” Award, said it’s about time the Games are held again in this shore at a time “when the performance of our athletes is in a downslide.”
“Second tayo noong 1991 at overall champion in 2005, now we are between seventh and sixth places. Athletes kasi are preparing in every-two-year cycle because competitions – SEA Games, Asian, Olympic Games and even individual regional, continental and world championships are held in that span, Buhain explained. ”
“It’s already 10 years since the Games were held here. Natural lamang na tinatamad na an gating mga atleta na mag-ensayo, Iba kawi ‘yung naglalaro ka before your countrymen. Mas inspired and motivated,” he observed. It is for this reason that the more I welcome our hosting in 2019.”