Filipino athletes to get more from Duterte

(The Philippine Star) - July 19, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Money to be collected from tax evaders would be used to support the training of Filipino Olympians, President Duterte said, as he exhorted the Rio-bound athletes to dish out their best and bring honor to the country in the upcoming Olympics Games.

Dutetre said “oligarchs” have been earning huge sums while Filipino athletes are not getting enough support from 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 Olymics yesterday in Malacañang.

Duterte welcomed the athletes and officials from the Philippine Olympic Committee and Philippine Sports Commission to the Rizal Hall of Malacañang yesterday at around 3 p.m.

Only six of the 12 athletes vying in the Rio Olympics from Aug. 5 to 21 made it to the courtesy call. It was the first time in six years that athletes heading to a major international competition like the SEA Games, Asian Games or Olympics were welcomed by the President.

They are weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia, taekwondo’s Kirstie Elaine Alora, table tennis’ Ian Lariba, track and field’s Marestella Torres and golfer Miguel Tabuena. Diaz and Torres are in their third straight Olympics.

The other contenders who are still training overseas are boxers Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez, swimmers Jasmine Alkhaldi and Jessie King Lacuna and track and field’s Eric Shawn Cray and Mary Joy Tabal.

Duterte, who was presented a red Philippine Team jacket by POC president Jose Cojuangco and PSC chairman William Ramirez, 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 on its tracks,” he added.

Duterte also urged athletes should 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.”

  Duterte also enumerated the sports the Philippines will compete in in Rio, and singled out boxing as one that brings out of the best from the Filipino athlete.

“Kasi (because it’s) do-or-die kaya (that’s why) Filipinos excel. Foremost is (boxing icon) Manny Pacquiao. The hero for all ages in this nation,” said Duterte.

The President admitted that Filipino athletes “do not have the nutrition and the skills starting at an early age, and described this as a “drawback.”

Looking at the sports at hand, Duterte said it’s sad that Filipino athletes “are not really big for such a task.”

Duterte joked that Filipino athletes can neutralize the opposition by sneaking into their tents (quarters). “Lagyan ninyo ng (put) Zika (mosquitoes),” he said.

Again, the crowd broke into laughter.

Duterte’s speech veered into his fight against drugs, crime and corruption, and those who “enjoy the fat of the land but don’t bother to pay their taxes.”

“Parang kalokohan (It’s crazy),” he said.

“I will get the money from those who are not paying (taxes) and give it to you,” he said, adding that the country loses as much as P300 million a day in uncollected taxes and other revenues.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with