Allowances of athletes, coaches in national pool to be restored

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    PHILIPPINE Sports Commission chief Butch Ramirez has confirmed that the allowances of athletes and coaches in the national pool drastically reduced to half last June will be restored under the soon to be enacted Bayanihan to Heal as One Act 2 law.

    “I would like to thank Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino for including this allotment as a provision to the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act 2,” Ramirez said in a PSC webcast last Saturday, referring to the POC chief, a congressman from the lone district of Tagaytay.

    He said that on top of the financial aid for national athletes and coaches under the new law, separate funds were also included for the country’s Olympic qualifiers and aspirants.

    Tolentino earlier said that P180 million has been earmarked for the allowances of 1,820 athletes and 382 coaches in the national pool under the new law.

    This was in keeping with the promise he made when the government sports agency was forced to trim the stipends by half because remittances from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. to the PSC’s National Sports Development Fund were drastically reduced.

    From an average of around P160 million a month, PAGCOR’s remittances dwindled to P7 million in April and P9 million last July, according to acting PSC executive director Atty. Guillermo Iroy Jr.

    As a result, Olympic qualifiers Ernest John Obiena of pole vault, gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno, who were getting P43,000 in monthly allowances, received just P21,500 each a month.

    Asian Games gold medalists and Olympic aspirants Hidylin Diaz and Margielyn Didal, who also won gold medals in the 30th SEA Games in weightlifting and skateboarding, respectively, saw their allowances trimmed from P36,000 to P17,500.

    All other SEA Games gold medalists who were entitled to a monthly stipend of P27,000 saw their allowances reduced to P13.500, with a corresponding reductions for SEA Games silver and bronze medalists as well.

    Ramirez also said the PSC is now processing the proper ID cards so that national athletes and coaches could receive their benefits under Republic Act 10699, or the new incentives law.

    “This is what Atty. Iroy, national training director Marc Velasco, and Dr. Larry Domingo are now working on it,” Ramirez said.

    Under the law passed in 2015, national athletes and coaches are entitled to  a 20 percent discount on majority of their purchases, also enjoy free medical and dental consultations in all government hospitals as well as scholarships from all state colleges and universities, among others.