GLOBALPORT team owner Mikee Romero hopes to personally turn his dream of creating a Department of Sports into reality.
Working behind such platform, Romero decided to throw his hat into the political ring and is running as the top nominee of the 1Pacman (Patriotic Coalition of Marginalized Nationals) party list in the coming national elections.
The businessman-sportsman has long been batting for the creation of a department that can address the lack of funding and training, lack of grassroots development, and inadequate training facilities that have hampered Philippine sports for a long time now.
Romero’s call for the establishment of a sports department came shortly after the London Olympics when, as head of the national shooting association, he saw how Filipino athletes were left behind in terms of training and technical know-how.
He later reiterated his stand when he served as guest speaker during the 2013 Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Annual Awards.
Apparently, everything fell on deaf ears, so much so that Romero is taking it upon himself to have it done should he be voted to Congress.
“Up to today, walang bumubuhay. Nobody is doing anything,” he said. “Kaya I have to put it in my own hands. Kailangan ko ng tumakbo ng Kongreso para isulong na magkaroon ng Department of Sports.”
Romero said he expects people to insinuate the party list will be identified with boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao, who himself is running for a Senate seat, as it obviously bear his moniker
He made it clear though that while it carries the name of the Filipino boxing sensation, the 37-year-old Pacquiao was not in any way involved in its creation, more so in its operation.
“With due respect, Manny is a big endorser of us, but he has nothing to do with the party list,” said the former basketball godfather.
Romero, listed as the youngest among the 50 richest Filipinos by Forbes, said a lot of athletes and sports officials already signified their intention to help him in his campaign. He expects the support to further snowball once the local campaign gets going on March 25.
Unlike in today’s current set-up when the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) finance and fund the training of athletes through allocation from the national budget and from remittances from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), and a few other government institutions, the creation of a Department of Sports will have sports having its own share from the government budget.
“Magiging cabinet secretary na kasi kung sino man ang mamamahala diyan and he’s in direct contact with the President,” said Romero. “Other than the financial budget will go directly to the department, problems in sports can directly be elevated to the President.”
Romero who’s also involved in cycling before and once served as team manager of the La Salle women’s volleyball team, reiterated though, he’ll not leave basketball should he make it to Congress.
“Siguro I will stay,” said the man behind the record seven straight championships of Harbour Centre in the defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL), the country’s inaugural title in the Asean Basketball League (ABL), and the men’s basketball gold in the 2007 SEABA and Southeast Asian Games.
“Napakamahal ko ng basketball e,” added the co-owner of Philippine AirAsia.