CONGRESS will come to the aid of the cash-strapped Philippine Sports Commission by earmarking more than P900 million in the 2021 national budget in PSC funds for the country’s major international commitments, including the Tokyo Olympics and Vietnam Southeast Asian Games next year.
Philippine Olympic Committee president and Rep. Bambol Tolentino announced this welcome news last Friday shortly after he won a fresh four year-term, beating archery chief Atty. Clint Aranas 30-22 in POC polls at the East Ocean Restaurant in Paranaque City.
“I think I have not announced this yet but through our lobbying, my brother Sen. Francis Tolentino and Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri, the Senate has approved a budget of P900 million plus for our international activities next year,” Tolentino said.
“Previously, the PSC had zero budget for our international commitments but when the national budget is passed, this funding will now allow us to fulfill them,” he added.
The other overseas meets that national campaigners are set to see action in are the Olympic qualifiers, Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, Asian Beach Games, World Para Games also in Tokyo, ASEAN Para Games and Asian Youth Games, among others.
The government sports agency had sought the assistance of Congress after its main source of revenue, the monthly remittances of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., were drastically slashed as gambling operations all over the country were shuttered for several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
PAGCOR’s remittances went to the PSC’s National Sports Development Fund, from which the financial support to the coaches and athletes in the national pool and their campaigns abroad were drawn from.
“We have a lot of challenges next. There are a lot of big competitions outside the country, especially the Tokyo Olympics where we might win our first gold. Marami po tayong trabaho. Medyo na-delay lang ‘yung trainings natin,” he said.
Gymnastics chief Cynthia Carrion, who was elected as treasurer and one of six candidates that won under Tolentino’s ticket, said this would be good for world gymnastics men’s floor exercise champion Carlos Edriel Yulo “who is doing very, very well in his training in Tokyo.”
Others who won under Tolentino’s ticket were basketball head Al Panlilio, first vice president; modern pentathlon and fencing chief Richard Gomez, second vice president; Chito Loyzaga, auditor; and surfing head Raul Canlas, judo president Dave Carter and muay thai secretary general Pearl Managuelod, Executive Board members.
The only winners on Aranas’ ticket were Steve Hontiveros, who was reelected chairman, and netball chief Atty. Charlie Ho, board member.
Table tennis chief Ting Ledesma was a no-show. In all, 53 out of the 54 regular POC voting members cast their ballots.
Present during the actual voting were POC electoral committee chairman Atty. Teddy Kalaw IV and Frank Elizalde, the former International Olympic Committee representative to the country. The other member, UP president Atty. Danilo Concepcion, joined the proceedings online.