Villanueva believes that institutionalizing sports varsity teams in basic education and strengthening sports programs in schools would be the long-term solution in improving the country’s performance in international competitions.
Sen. Joel Villanueva pushes for the implementation of grassroots approach in Philippine sports by promoting physical education and encouraging sports program to hone Filipino athletes and prepare them as future champions. The victories of gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxer Nesthy Petecio are the primary drivers of this proposal.
As the Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture, Villanueva filed Senate Bill No. 157, also known as the Sports Varsity Teams in Basic Education Act, which aims to take necessary actions on sports organization in basic educational institutions.
Villanueva believes that institutionalizing sports varsity teams in basic education and strengthening sports programs in schools would be the long-term solution in improving the country’s performance in International competitions.
According to Villanueva, there is no talent shortage in our country when it comes to sports. "Talent is scattered everywhere in our 7,000 islands, and it is up to us in government to be able to find these people and cultivate their skills so they can carry on with our quest to deliver the country's first Olympic gold in over 90 years since we first competed in the Games.”
Villanueva emphasized that the country’s talent bench runs deep, but the lack of organization in the grass roots level prevent our athletes from being recognized in the local and international arena.
Moreover, lack of implementation of sports programs in educational institutions make it difficult for national sports associations from training new athletes and sports representatives in international competitions.
The Department of Education (DepEd) plays a crucial role in the success of the said bill, in which they are tasked to create a sports varsity selection and admission system that identifies potential athletes, as well as provide a mechanism that recognizes varsity coaches who will manage varsity teams in schools.
The bill is currently on its first reading and pending before the Senate basic education committee.