By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

THE INTEGRAL PART that the private sector could play in sports development in the country was spotlighted at the weekend with the formal unveiling of Siklab Atleta Pilipinas Sports Foundation, Inc.

Organized by Phoenix Fuel Corp. president and CEO and Presidential Adviser on Sports Dennis Uy, Siklab Atleta is geared towards helping the Philippines in its bid to notch its first Olympic gold medal, among others.

Proponents said Siklab Atleta will gather support from the private sector to complement efforts of the government on the sporting front, to make development thorough and with more motor.

“The road towards bringing home the first Olympic gold is not easy, but with the support of everybody, we may have a chance,” said Mr. Uy during the launch last Saturday which was attended by various stakeholders, including Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and officials of the Philippine Olympic Committee and Philippine Sports Commission.

Siklab Atleta said so far 16 corporate sponsors have come on board and throw their support behind the foundation and what it intends to accomplish.

Having made themselves available as corporate sponsors are SM investments Corp., Belle Corp., RFM Corp., Alaska Milk Corp., Tanduay Distillery, JG Summit Holdings, Inc., Megawide Construction Corp., International Container Terminal Services, Inc., San Miguel Corp., PLDT, Unilab, Ulticon Builders, Inc., Phoenix Petroleum, 2GO, Megaworld Corp., Robinsons Land Corp., and Philippine International Air Terminal Corp.

For Mr. Cayetano, who is also the chairman of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee, the formation of Siklab Atleta is a step in the right direction for the improvement of the handling of sports affairs in the country.

“We may disagree, we may argue but for as long as we are united in the goal of helping our athletes, then we are good,” said Mr. Cayetano during the launch.

He also touched on the subject of taking care of athletes even after their service for flag and country.

On the part of newly elected POC President Ricky Vargas and PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez, the key role of the private sector could not be more stated in sports development.

“The partnership with the private sector is important to help our athletes succeed,” said Mr. Ramirez.

“It takes a whole community to support an athlete. All sports stakeholders must unite to find the best athletes to represent the country,” Mr. Vargas, meanwhile, said.

As of now, Siklab Atleta said it has 30 athlete-recipients, including Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz.