Duterte vows strengthened tax collection to fund training of Phl athletes
(Philstar.com) - July 18, 2016 - 11:25pm
MANILA, Philippines — Money to be collected from tax evaders would be used to support the training of Filipino Olympians, President Rodrigo Duterte said as he encouraged athletes to bring honor to the country in the upcoming Rio Olympics.
Duterte said “oligarchs” have been earning huge sums while Filipino athletes are not getting enough support from the government due to limited resources.
“Just like the oligarchs of this country, the elite. They get contracts from government. They enjoy the fat of the land and they don’t really bother paying taxes,” Duterte said during the sendoff of the Philippine contingent to the Rio Olympics on Monday in Malacañan Palace.
“The oligarchs continue to wallow in the filth of wealth, and enjoying the fat of this nation. Parang kalokohan dito (This is absurd). I assure you during my time, I will get the money from the pockets of those who are not paying and give it to you to train,” he added.
Duterte lamented that the Philippines loses about P300 million a day due to smuggling. He said the money to be recovered from the illegal activity would be given to the athletes and the poor.
“Be comfortable in the thought that in the coming days, you will have more support because I will collect taxes,” the president said.
“Be assured that graft and corruption will stop right (in) its tracks,” he added.
Duterte also urged athletes to do their best during the Olympics as not everyone is given the honor and opportunity to represent the country.
To further boost the morale of the Filipino Olympians, Duterte tripled their allowance to $3,000 from $1,000. The allowance of sports officials who will accompany them was also increased to $5,000 from $4,000.
Duterte even joked that he would reward athletes who would bring home medals with “unoccupied islands.”
The 12 members of the Philippine Olympic team are Kirstie Alora (women’s taekwondo), Nestor Colonia (men’s weightlifting), Eric Cray (men’s 400-meter hurdles), Hidilyn Diaz (women’s weightlifting), Rogen Ladon (men's boxing), Ian Lariba (women's table tennis), Charly Suarez (men's boxing), Mary Joy Tabal (women's marathon), Miguel Tabuena (men’s golf), Marestella Torres-Sunang (women’s long jump), Jessie Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi (swimming).
Also present during the sendoff were Philippine Olympic Committee President Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. and Philippine Sports Commission Chair William “Butch” Ramirez.

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