Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) president Ricky Vargas said on Friday that he was not inclined to reprimand amateur boxers Irish Magno and Eumir Marcial for speaking their mind regarding the delayed arrival of their monthly allowances.
“We are not going to prevent our athletes from exercising their rights and speaking their mind," said Vargas through a statement released via ABAP secretary general Ed Picson.
"This is not to 'spoil' them, but to allow them the basic freedoms provided under our democratic society. We are not inclined to scold or reprimand them for speaking out. We would rather offer a concrete explanation for them to understand."
Magno and Marcial, the first Filipino boxers to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, recently took to social media voicing out their concern over athletes' delayed allowances.
This prompted the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to speed up the release of funds for their allowances.
PSC national training director Marc Velasco said a delay occurred because an annual review was needed by the agency to look into the national team members qualified to receive allowances.
Picson said the ABAP did its best to help their athletes as far as finances are concerned.
"While we did not want to trumpet our efforts to help our athletes and coaches, we are now constrained to clarify that we have not been blind or unresponsive to their financial troubles," he said.
"As a matter of fact, a week before Irish’s post, we indeed extended financial assistance to all our boxers and coaches."
Picson said the ABAP provided cash assistance to all their boxers "as far as our own finances would allow."
"We acknowledge the sacrifices and hardships our athletes and coaches go through in the struggle for national pride. And for this, we have always seen to it that they are amply rewarded for their achievements and have taken care of their basic needs in nutrition, sports psychology, strength and conditioning and the best possible training possible," said Picson.
Vargas said what Magno has been asking is a concrete statement regarding the delay.
"They will surely understand that you 'cannot squeeze water from a stone,'" he said. "We need to be honest with them as we expect them to be honest with us."
"We are confident that those in a position to give this explanation would do so to assuage the anxieties of our national athletes and coaches during these difficult times. We owe them that."
FROM THE ARCHIVES