In SMS lingo, LOL stands for “laughing out loud”. This was the first thought that came to my mind when I read the two bills on sports in the Philippine Senate website.
Incidentally, if you have the time and want to be entertained with something akin to what could be a candidate for inclusion in the Guinness World Record, try perusing the list of the thousands of proposed bills filed by our senators of the 16th Congress. It’s like a contest among the 24 senators on who could file the greatest number of bills. One wonders what method they use to choose which among the bills filed they should attend to.
Anyway, Sen. Edgardo J. Angara filed SB no. 48, titled An Act Creating the Philippines Sports University and for Other Purposes.
And Sen. Pia Cayetano, on her part, filed SB no. 2620 (yes, folks, that’s the 2620th bill filled according to the list in the Senate website), titled An Act Creating and Establishing the Philippine High School for Sports.
Gee whiz, a sports university and a sports high school in our beloved Philippines?
As the founding dean of the UP Institute of Sports, PE & Recreation (SPEAR) more than 35 years ago, and giving rise to what is now the UP College of Human Kinetics–an entity in the UP Diliman campus which has become a symbol of neglect, incompetence, and lack of vision of the administrators of the State University — I couldn’t help but be literally ROTF LOL (rolling on the floor laughing out load).
So I dashed to my iPad, and emailed the following to the good senators and authors of the proposed bills:
Dear Senator Angara and Madame Senator Cayetano. Permit me please to comment on the two sports bills which you have filled, one pertaining to the creation of a sports university and another on the establishment of a sports high school.
1. Except for China, there is no model for the establishment of a university of sports in Asia, much more in ASEAN countries. Not even progressive states in our area like Singapore, Hong Kong, or Australia and New Zealand have a sports university.
2. We have failed to invest in the professional training of the manpower we need to man our national sports development program. A perfect example of this failing is the UP College of Human Kinetics. In its over 35-years of existence, it has not produced a single PhD in sports management, sports medicine, and sports science. Currently, its faculty does not have any doctorate degree holder who can be considered an expert in any of the various disciplines of sports and who had received or have been exposed to training abroad. The UP CHK is a perfect symbol of our failure in investing in the human resource manpower in the multi-disciplinary field of physical education and sports.
3.To my mind, what the government should do is to follow the example of Thailand which had put in place a practice more than three decades ago, and which we could emulate. They have PE and sports colleges that were treated as normal institutions for teachers’ training in its 75 provinces, grouped into six regions. These colleges produce the PE and sports teachers who are behind the current supremacy of Thailand in the SEA Games.
4. In the Philippines, there are similar existing colleges attached to higher education institutions that the government, through legislation, can upgrade and strengthen. This will mean prescribing curricular offerings and most of all, encouraging graduate studies in PE, sports management, and sports science. An example of such an entity is the Institute of Youth Sports for Peace of Foundation University in Dumaguete City which is pioneering, through the College of Education, in offering graduate courses in sports management, wellness, and sports events management. There are also similar colleges in Cebu that offer specialized courses in sports, for which the government could extend support.
5. With regards to the Philippine High School for Sports, a similar obstacle is encountered in the paucity of qualified staff to man the program. With some 100 million Filipinos, one can literally count with one’s fingers the number of Filipinos with professional degrees who could qualify for employment in the PHSS.
6. Please note further that there were two instances by the Philippine Sports Commission to establish a Philippine Sports Institute. First was attempted by former Chair Dr. Philip Ella Juico during the term of President Fidel Ramos. The attempt failed. The second attempt was made by then Chair William “Butch” Ramirez two years ago. Likewise, it was a failure and was not supported by his successor.
Thus, if these small attempts at inaugurating an educational entity for sports did not gain ground, what hope is there for a university of sports to exist in our midst?
May I reiterate my recommendation: for government to support existing colleges of PE and Sports attached to HIEs in ensuring that the mass-based education of PE and sports professionals be conducted according to standards that will make us competitive in international sports. It is sad to note that outstanding athletes like Lydia de Vega-Mercado, who finished a Bachelor of Physical Education, is now employed in Singapore instead of say, Far Eastern University where she studied for 12 long years to obtain her degree while in the service of the country and winning honors. And now, her training and experience are being used not for the benefit of her countrymen but by a neighboring City State.
This is sad, very sad, indeed.
In short, your honors, we, sad to say, are not ready to implement the vision and mission envisioned in Senate Bills Nos. 48 and 2620.