Vice President Jejomar C. Binay reassured Filipino athletes that the government will continue to find ways to improve the current state of sports development program in the Philippines.

“Huwag po kayong mawalan ng lakas ng loob o sigla ng katawan,” Binay said in a speech during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Awards Night held at the Manila Hotel Saturday.

“Unti-unti po nating mapupuno ang pagkukulang na matagal ninyong ininda. At hindi po magtatagal, madarama ninyo ang pagsapit ng bagong amihan sa gitna ng inyong paglalakbay,” he added.

In his speech, the Vice President acknowledged that lack of funding hampers Filipinos’ ability to be at par with Asian neighbors in the fields of sports science and athletic development.

“Sa usaping ito, ang pangunahing balakid sa pagyabong ng galing ng ating mga atleta ay ang kakulangan ng pondo na inilalaan ng pamahalaan para sa mga programang pampalakasan,” Binay said.

“Kung ihahambing sa mga atleta mula sa mga karatig bansa sa Asya, ang mga manlalaro natin ay kinukulang sa kagamitan, sa mga pasilidad para sa pag-ensayo at sa pagdaraos ng mga palaro,” he added.

Binay said that the Philippines can learn from China and Korea’s strength and success in democratizing their sports clinics. He added that building sports centers beyond the urban capitol is a great way to select and train the youth in various competitive disciplines.

“Children are evaluated at an early age to see where their strengths lie and through purposeful training and focused coaching, their full potentials are unveiled,” Binay said.

“Our champions deserve our help and our sincerest thanks. They represent not just the very best athletic skills but the spirit of true sportsmanship and excellence. On the courts, fields and rings, they prove more than the talent given to them by the Creator; they show the character and nobility of the nation they so proudly represent. Through strong competition, they build good will between states and promote peace between all men,” he added.

Binay also stressed the importance of involving local government officials in strengthening sports development, especially at the grass-roots level.

“Involving our mayors and governors in the process can more quickly decentralize the selection of athletes and the sourcing of funding,” he said.

He added that the recently convened summit between the Philippine Sports Commission and leaders of Local Government Units nationwide will pave the way in getting the private sector involved through sponsorships.

“If our biggest businesses and companies can create sports teams to help market their products, there is no reason why they cannot be invited to support the teams that carry our national colors and defend our country’s pride,” Binay said.