Politics, red tape, and crab mentality between key sporting bodies, the government and the national sporting associations impedes the smoother development of Filipino world-class athletes. Lack of leadership and vision compounds the critical lack of innovative training methods, state-of-the art facilities and modern equipment needed to develop Filipino athlete potential to reach and maintain competitive Olympic and Paralympic levels.
These have hindered the growth of elite level and regular sport, despite accolades in the early second half of the 20th century. The Philippines back then, produced world-class talent in baseball, boxing, football/soccer, basketball, track and field, and swimming.
There currently exists an disparity in Philippine sports. On one end is the majority of the populace whose sport exposure is limited to what can be afforded on limited income and time. On the other end, a minority whose sport exposure parallels that of the developed world, where active involvement is conducted using expensive sport equipment and played within an equally limited society of peers. Such a situation subsequently limits growing new talent from the mass base.
Some sports have therefore flourished more than others, but by no means indicate the sports Filipinos enjoy today. One only need visit the country, immerse and involve oneself in sport opportunities across the islands.
With the Filipino love for radio/TV entertainment and gadgets, the speed of technological growth, the internet, affordable personal tech video services on equally affordable cellphones have exposed the nation to world culture.
Income from the Filipino overseas workforce feeds the imaginations of family (still living in the country), opening minds to tantalizing glimpses of the world's leisure sports, fads, trends aside from Hollywood films. Filipinos have started tuning into the world, getting more involved in sport. Some are in part, striving to mimic their sport heroes.
A good trend to watch is the growth of outdoor, extreme, and endurance sports which is gradually gaining acceptance across the islands especially among the younger generation and the environmentally conscious nature-lovers. Among these are in-line/roller skating, in-line hockey, kite/wake boarding, kite/ski surfing, rock-climbing/scrambling, mountaineering,and frisbee.
The disabled Filipinos who do take up sport discover this is a way to regain self confidence, hope and maintain fitness. Most civilian disabled athletes are those who have had access to supportive personnel or have encountered PHILSPADA athletes. The Philippine Sports Association of Differently Abled is the umbrella organization for Philippine disabled sport likewise official National Paralympic Committee of the Philippines, affiliated with the International Paralympic Committee. PHILSPADA works with the IBSA, the Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports Commission, equivalent organizations and national sport associations to train and send qualified disabled Filipino athletes to the ASEAN ParaGames, the Paralympics and all accredited local and international disabled sport events.
Although the Philippine disabled sport contingents are so much smaller and less funded by the government, Filipino disabled athletes have been bringing in more medals than their able-bodied counterparts in equivalent international games. This is not because sports for the disabled is made easier but because of the will and ability of the athlete to excel. Recently PSC announced that medal winning disabled athletes will also receive exactly the same cash award sport incentives as the able-bodied SEAGAMES medal winners, etc have been receiving, in line with Republic Act 7277 – the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.
In the recent January 2008 4th ASEAN Paragames in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, the Philippines fielded athletes with cerebral palsy to compete in boccia for the first time. Likewise the Philippine Disabled Shooting Team (with Philippine National Shooting Association support) competed in the ParaGames in the Air Rifle and Air Pistol events.
This year, Adeline Dumapong, wheelchair user with polio, bemedalled athlete and Paralympian powerlifter (Bronze, 2000 Sydney Paralympics) plus the 2-person Philippine Disabled Sailing Team, Team Sailability Philippines (with the Philippine Sailing Association support), have qualified for and will compete in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.