PSC hopes for support from private sector in SEA Games campaign

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2022 03:50 PM

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MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is reaching out to the private sector, notably to airlines, for help in the country's campaign in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.

This, according to PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez, who also serves as the chef-de-mission of the Philippine delegation to the 31st SEA Games in May.

"I might as well say it now, we're trying to talk to the airline companies, on who can help us, who can give us a really good deal," Fernandez said in an appearance on "Power and Play."

"There are a lot of other expenses, like quarantines and PCR tests and all that. So, we're hoping, we will be getting support from the private sector," he added.

The PSC has earmarked P121 million for Team Philippines' campaign in the SEA Games. According to Fernandez, they originally had a budget of P200 million, but much has been spent on training and preparation before the biennial event was postponed from late 2021 to May 2022.

"We will see where we can source out the others," said Fernandez. "Maybe, hopefully, we can request for contingency or more funds from DBM (Department of Budget and Management), as we are able to compute how much it will cost."

Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino, president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), has acknowledged that the country's campaign in the SEA Games will likely be hampered by budgetary constraints as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Team Philippines dominated the 2019 SEA Games at home, but with limited preparation for the 2022 edition of the event, Tolentino said it will be an "uphill battle" for the Filipinos to retain the overall crown.

"I doubt kung meron pa po tayong chance for overseas training. So we have to face the reality, because of this pandemic," said Tolentino.

"Kaya baka may magtanong, can we defend the overall champion or what? Ang dami pong nangyari na mahirap sagutin 'yun. Unang-una, 'yung pandemic, naapektuhan 'yung training. Second, 'yung budgetary constraint, ang laki ng epekto nun sa training din," he added.

"Kaya pa rin nating i-defend, pero talagang uphill battle."

The 31st SEA Games will run from May 12-23 in Vietnam. The Philippines will send 584 athletes to the biennial event, where they will compete in all but one of the 40 sports in the program.