Fair Play: Will politics derail Talisay City Sports Academy?

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's July 15 edition)
LAST month, while we were groaning collectively at another miserable stint in the Southeast Asian Games, there was a major development in the local sports scene, one that's supposed to address the ills of sports in the country.

The Senate passed its version of House Bill 4461, originally authored by Cebu Rep. Samsam Gullas, establishing the Talisay Sports Academy and Training Center.

Sen. Sonny Angara, in approving the bill, hopes the Academy will be the premier primary sports development and training center in Cebu and hopes it would jumpstart grassroots development.

Yeah, right, and I'm going to be the next superstar in D'Voice Kids.

I checked the bill online and Section 2 says, “The City Government of Talisay, in coordination with the Philippine Sports Commission, shall take....blah..blah..blah.” Section 3 says, “The construction, establishment and operation of the Talisay Sports Academy and Training Center shall be funded by the government of the City of Talisay…”

I could go on but those lines already show how that bill would be a failure and I present as Exhibit A, Talisay City Mayor Johnny delos Reyes's State of the City Address. Because of the political set-up in Talisay City, JVR won't touch any bill that has Samsam's scent on it with a 1,000-foot pole.

And the Talisay Sports Academy is dead before it can even start, and it won’t even get one of the 18 intermission numbers. I take no sides in the fight, I just know the fighting won’t help sports development.

But Samsam need not fret. If he wants a Sports Academy, all he has to do is see what Ed Hayco, the Cebu City Sports Commission chairman, is doing at the Cebu Sports Institute in Sawang Calero.

The Institute was once an abandoned building and is now the center for sports development in Cebu, something Samsam wants the Talisay Sports Academy to be.

It’s only five years old and yet look at what it has become. Cebu Province is trying to copy the move and Samsam could have it copied, too, not just for Talisay City but for the First District.

And since JVR’s Talisay City funding the Sports Academy is as likely as me becoming the starting center of the Green Lancers, perhaps Samsam can instead look at a proven program and slowly expand on it. Tennis is big in Carcar and Naga, with a few of the town’s youth winning national titles.

He could start with that, and slowly expand it using the Cebu City model. Or he could wait for JVR, and open a spot at center in the Green Lancers.


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