TACLOBAN CITY – Institutionalizing the government-run sports program at the Leyte Sports Academy (LSA) is seen as a solution to make the program last.
Leyte Vice Governor Carlo Loreto said that the provincial board is already readying an ordinance institutionalizing the six year program which was started during the administration of former governor Carlos Jericho Petilla aimed at developing a comprehensive sports program for Leyte’s aspiring athletes.
It was earlier reported that LSA’s operation this year is facing a budgetary problem after the Commission on Audit disallowed the provincial government to use budget under Special Education Fund for sports development.
The fund supports all the necessary equipment, accommodation and lodgings, trainors and coaches of the sports scholars under the program. They are likewise enrolled in academic training.
Loreto admitted that the program’s operations is very expensive for which the province spends P 1.5 million to P2 million annually.
However, Loreto said that with the world-class performance and achievements the LSA athletes have given the province in national and international competitions, the program should continue.
During the regular session on September 6, members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved a supplemental budget to support LSA operations for the remaining part of the year.
“By the next session, we are working to bring to the floor the ordinance institutionalizing the program,” Loreto said.
During the 6th founding anniversary of LSA last month, Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla advanced the idea of expanding the program to include athletes from other parts of the region.
From athletics, swimming and boxing when it opened in 2010, LSA now also offers scholarships in powerlifting, wrestling, taekwondo and wushu.
LSA currently has 120 sports scholars.
LSA-bred 16-year old Rowella Abrea of Matag-ob, Leyte is the latest addition of world-class athletes produced under the program.
Abrea recently won two medals at the World Powerlifting Championship in Warsaw, Poland. She won a silver in the deadlift category and a bronze in the bench press category in a competition participated by other countries such as USA, Russia, Japan, Ukraine and Poland.