Congress okays additional funds for national team

Joey Villar - Philstar.com
Congress okays additional funds for national team
Composite photo shows Filipino athletes who won medals in the Tokyo Olympics: (L-R) Nesty Petecio, Hidilyn Diaz, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives has given its nod for additional funding for the national team seeing action in several international sporting events next year, including the Hangzhou Asian Games.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino reported the good news after of the Lower House, from which he also belongs being a congressman from Tagaytay, approved their request for an extra P650 million for next year’s budget.

The PhilCycling chief said this amount would cover expenses to be incurred when the country competes in the Asiad in September, Beijing Winter Olympics in February, Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in March, The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama in July, and the Shantou Asian Youth Games in December all next year.

Money will also be needed in the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games, which has also been reset to next year, as well as 2023 Phnom Penh SEA Games slated in February.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had appropriated a measly P175 million next, which would just be enough to cover the bare essentials including thed national athletes’ monthly stipend.

“Only P175 million is given to the PSC but we badly need this P650 million and we promise that we will give another honor for the country,” said Tolentino. “We cannot ignore or forget the pride and honor that our athletes are giving to us and to the country.”

Just a few days ago, the Senate has also vowed to support the proposal.

Sports has been a source of inspiration for the country following the exploits of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, who delivered the Filipinos’ breakthrough Olympic gold medal in the Tokyo Games.

Boxers also delivered a couple of Olympic silver (Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam) and a bronze (Eumir Marcial).

“The total budget is a measly sum and this could be tapped from several sources. My concern is the budget needed by our athletes in these major competitions,” said Tolentino. “I am also willing to put a provision — as an oversight function — that all canceled competitions will be treated as savings and will be returned to the DBM or the National Treasury.”

Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera-Dy, who presided the House Committee on Finance budget hearing also attended by Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez and national training director Marc Velasco, is supportive of the proposal.

“This is well deserved for the PSC,” said Dy.

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