GMA  APPROVES  NEW  PROGRAM  TO  BOOST  RP  OLYMPIC  BID

MANILA, AUGUST 25, 2007
(STAR) By Marvin Sy - President Arroyo has approved Executive Order No. 651, a new grassroots development program aimed at developing talents in sports where the country has better chances of winning the gold in the Olympics.

The President poured an initial fund of P50 million to the new program. Its focus will fall on sports disciplines like boxing instead of the more popular spectator sports like basketball.

Earlier this year, the Philippines launched a massive campaign to regain a slot in the basketball competitions of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But the RP team fell short and failed to qualify.

The President wants a grassroots sports program that will develop athletes specifically in fields where the potential to win an Olympic gold is higher.

The P50 million will come from the monthly contributions of the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) to the Philippine Sports Commission, the government’s funding arm in sports.

Additional funds will be sourced by the PSC, under chairman Butch Ramirez, through fund-raising activities and other means.

Another sport that will likely benefit from EO 651 is chess. The President hopes that the program will also encourage children to play chess in order to enhance their reading and math skills.

However, chess is not yet a medal sport in the Olympics.

Citing studies made in the United States and Canada, the President noted that children who played chess performed better and received higher scores on standardized tests for both reading and math.

So apart from strengthening the development program for athletes, the new grassroots program, through the use of chess as a tool, would also help the national government in implementing its Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan, which calls for the strengthening of education in math, science and English.

In the short-term, the Philippines goal is to obtain at least one gold medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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