Filipino athletes deserve to have a good sports facility, there is no doubt about that.
Despite costs, as long as it will help the Philippines produce champions, it's for the better.
But an episode of the Atom Araullo Specials uncovered how, a sports facility, which cost around P240 million in Butuan City in Mindanao, has been neglected for some time now.
The establishment was built six years ago under former Mayor Jun Amante. And now, the establishment which aimed to be one of the top sports facilities in the country, turned into a sad state. It has remained unfinished and incomplete.
Its decaying basketball court, dirty bleachers and broken ceilings is a clear indication that it's already a far cry from its original state.
In 2015, it was reported that Amante was probed for plunder and graft for the P240-million sports complex.
To this day, Amante and the establishment are still being investigated by the Commission on Audit — the reason why it cannot be used at the moment.
"Maraming mga athletes and lumalapit sa amin kaso medyo tied ang hands namin na ipagamit kasi wala pang proper turn-over or acceptance from the city government that the facility is concerned," city administrator Rey Disianta said.
"Ngayon, most of us, especially runners and even basketball players, ang predicament namin, medyo mahihirapan kami na bigyan sila ng authority to use the facility as of now," he added.
With this, Romulo and other athletes remain dismayed since the establishment would be a good training ground for them.
"Siguro sa akin, mas mabuti kung ayusin nila 'to... Siguro kapag maayos na ito, marami na ang atleta natin na makapunta ng ibang lugar para sa paglalaro tulad ng regional meet at tsaka Palaro," he said.
"Magaling naman ang mga athlete namin dito, ang kulang lang ay mga pasilidad," he added.
The Butuan Polysports Complex is just one of the few decaying sports facilities in the country.
Many athletes rue the sad state of the country's sports facilities and the lack of support they get.
And for Sev Sarmenta, a sports analyst, poverty is one of the factors why only a few succeed in sports.
"Kapag dumating 'yong time na choosing between habit to make a living and now staying as an athlete, (doon talaga nagkakatalo)," he said.
"The Philippine Sports Commission is able to give them salaries and support kaso ang mahal ng buhay ngayon. So kung minsan the need is necessary to make a living," he added.
Sarmenta also cited politics in sports as a factor.
"Ang nature ng sports sa atin is that those who are in government, formerly working in government are involved in sports. Many politicians believe kapag may athlete, may bata sila talaga, it's good for their political career. Kapag hindi napipili ang mga bata nila, nagagalit sila, nag-aaway-away. Ang apektado niyan ay ang athlete," he said.
Meanwhile, for Francis Ochoa, sports editor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a strong and steady grassroots program is they key to the country's success in sports.
"Iyong continuity ng development ng sports reform sa atin, palaging nagbabago kapag may bagong administrasyon. Papalit na naman ng program, wala tayong continuity talaga," he said.
For Ochoa, the Philippine Sports Commission should focus on the grassroots program to widen the country's talent base.
"'Pag lumaki 'yong talent base natin, magkakaroon tayo ng chance na makakita talaga ng mga tinatawag na 'diamonds in the rough,'" he added.
But for the Philippines, who is a third world country, does sports really need this kind of attention?
For Sarmenta and Ochoa, sports will help the country in terms of nation building.
"We are a nation that has many challenges, many difficulties and these athletes provide inspiration," Sarmenta said.
"'Yong values ng hardwork, perseverance, discipline, natututunan nila habang bata pa at nadadala nila 'yon," Ochoa added. — LA, GMA News