Athletes, coaches to get allowances

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 01 2014 07:12 PM | Updated as of Apr 02 2014 03:12 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Athletes and coaches in the national pool will continue to receive their allowances from the Philippine Sports Commission amid the sensitive issue of the unliquidated cash advances by most of the NSAs (national sports associations).

Chairman Richie Garcia said the athletes and coaches have nothing to worry about even if the PSC suspends its financial assistance on the 34 NSAs with unliquidated cash advances amounting to over P32 million since 2010.

“First thing to be affected are their international exposure and training. But their allowances and salaries are not considered financial assistance,” said Garcia.

It means that the athletes who cannot go overseas to train have no choice but to train in the country as they gear up for the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in August, the Asian Games in Incheon in September and the Asian Beach Games in Phuket in November.

But as they train locally, they will continue to receive their allowances.

Atty. Guillermo Iroy, the PSC executive director, yesterday clarified that the allowances of the athletes and the salaries of the coaches “are directly remitted to them as payroll.”

“We cannot turn our backs on the athletes,” Garcia added.

Garcia said the PSC has received an order from the Commission on Audit to stop releasing financial assistance to any NSA that has failed to liquidate previous cash advances.

Garcia said he had a long conversation with the COA official looking into the PSC books and was told that it’s up to the PSC to decide if it wants to issue financial assistance to delinquent NSAs.

“We were told it is our discretion but that it will be the responsibility of the PSC. Ako ang nakataya dito. And when you give it’s already going against the COA circular. Then the PSC will be liable,” he said.

In short, the PSC has decided not to use its discretion on the matter.

Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco said the absence of overseas training and exposure will definitely tell on the country’s chances in the forthcoming events, particularly the Asian Games.

The POC chief went to say that instead of losing face due to the absence of proper training, it may be better if the Filipino athletes skip the competition.

Garcia is hoping that the issue will be settled soon.

“Because the longer it takes the preparations for the Asian Games will be greatly affected. It will be very sad if we don’t win because of this,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) yesterday clarified that it had requested for financial assistance from the PSC last year for the purchase of equipment needed for, among others, the national boxers’ preparations for the Southeast Asian Games in December.

At that time however, ABAP had already purchased several equipment for local and international tournaments.

PSC released P1.5 million for the purchase of equipment on Dec. 20, 2013. ABAP had by then already made several purchases for SEA Games preparations as well as for local and international competitions for the year.

After Dec. 20, ABAP also placed orders for additional equipment. Since the said equipment had to be sourced from abroad, it was only delivered last month.

ABAP executive director Ed Picson conferred with Iroy Monday to seek clarification on the process of liquidation.

ABAP president Ricky Vargas clarified that since this is the first time in five years that the boxing association sought help from the PSC in the matter of equipment, Picson had to make sure about what could be applied for liquidation.

 “We have spent a lot more for equipment in the five years that we have been in ABAP but since the PSC offered the hand of partnership, we accepted it. We just wanted to make sure that our liquidation adhered to PSC rules. We have no intention of destroying our track record of zero unliquidated advances to PSC prior to Dec. 20, 2013. This matter should be settled in the next few days,” said Vargas.