Ramirez backs grassroots dev’t » Manila Bulletin Sports



by Nick Giongco

While it is not totally against the recruitment of foreign talent, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) yesterday defended its move to focus on grassroots development by way of the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI), saying it is one mandate that has been taken for granted in the 27-year existence of the agency.

“It is clear in RA 6847 that one man function of the PSC is to develop grassroots (development),” said William ‘Butch’ Ramirez, whose PSI is aimed at attending to the country’s lack of a genuine recruitment program.

Ramirez understands why many national sports associations have resorted to the hiring of Fil-foreign athletes to beef up the national pool “because we don’t have grassroots development products.”

The PSI, said Ramirez, is geared towards the goal of solving this malady.

“I just hope that the institute is continued even after we are long gone,” said Ramirez.

High-profile national sports associations that have opted to go beyond local shores to find talent include athletics, basketball, tennis, swimming, football, and judo, a practice Ramirez is targeting to discontinue should the PSI succeed in its goals.

“Of course, we can’t see the results of this in just a few years. This is long-term,” said the 67-year-old Ramirez, in his second stint as PSC chairman after serving for the first time from 2005 until 2009.

Although the Philippines had its share of Fil-foreigners in the 1980s, the practice of talent discovery became even more prevalent the last 20 years.

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