THE Philippine Sports Commission has decided to postpone the latest induction of outstanding national athletes to the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame to cut costs, according to Commissioner Ramon Fernandez.
“Given our present (pandemic) situation, we will likely defer the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame for next year as part of our cost-cutting measures until our remittances from PAGCOR normalize,” Fernandez said of the agency’s tribute to the country’s outstanding athletic performers.
Under Republic Act 6847 that created the PSC in 1990, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. has been the major source of income of the government sports agency mainly for its National Sports Development Fund.
But with the national government putting the country on lockdown for nearly three months to stop the spread of COVID-19, onsite gambling at casinos and hotels was barred, resulting in PAGCOR’s either lack or absence of revenues since mid-March.
Fernandez said that PAGCOR’s remittance to the PSC last April was just P9 million, in stark contrast to the P150 to P200 million a month it used to get.
Except for the return of Chinese-operated Philippine offshore gaming operations last month involving overseas gamblers, the Inter-Agency Task Force tasked to oversee the virus crisis has yet to approve the resumption of public gambling in casinos.
The Philippine Sports Hall of fame was created by Republic Act 8757 in 1999 during the term of President Joseph Estrada in recognition of Filipino athletes “who have distinguished themselves in their particular field of sports.”
With the PSC as the project proponent and in partnership with the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Games and Amusement Board, the three agencies are tasked to form a screening committee that will form the criteria for the selection and nomination of worthy athletes for enshrinement.
Fernandez said the PSC had started its screening process early this year, but this has been put on hold until further notice. He added the induction was supposed to be held in November.
It wasn’t until the term of former PSC chairman Harry Angping that the first batch of 11 athletes, bannered by basketball great Carlos Loyzaga and boxing icon Gabriel “Flash” Elorde, was inducted into the Hall in 2010 at the Manila Hotel.
The latest list of 10 honorees, led by the great bowling trio of the late Lita dela Rosa, Paeng Nepomuceno and Bong Coo and former Asian sprint queen Lydia de Vega, were enshrined to the Hall two years ago at the Philippine International Convention Center.
Aside from being inducted, each Hall of Famer is given a plaque of appreciation and a cash award of P100,000.