MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine basketball legend Ramon Fernandez, also the chef de mission to the 2021 Southeast Asian Games, is hoping to get the support of local government units as they prepare for the biennial competition in Vietnam.
Quarantine restrictions in NCR Plus are keeping the national athletes from training as they usually would. The budget constraints of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) also make it difficult to hold a "bubble" at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna for the entire national team.
"'Yung budget natin na na-approve for the SEA Games is P200 million," Fernandez, also a PSC commissioner, explained Tuesday during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
"Our finance team at the PSC, ni-reserve ang P100 million for the actual games, for the trip itself. So we are left with P100 million for the training of the athletes," he added.
In January, three national teams -- karate, taekwondo, and boxing -- entered the Inspire facility in Laguna for a training camp ahead of their Olympic qualifying campaigns. Fernandez revealed that the three-month camp for three sports have already cost the PSC some P21 million.
"So, if we put all 39 or 38 sports in a bubble, how much would that cost us? Impossible talaga na makakayanan ng PSC," he noted.
One solution, said Fernandez, is to partner with different LGUs that can host various national teams in their respective "bubbles."
This was already done by the fencing team, which trained in Ormoc City, as well as the archery team in Dumaguete.
It will be a massive boost to the national teams if LGUs can help them in their preparations for the SEA Games, said Fernandez.
"I thought of an idea na makiusap tayo, kumatok tayo sa mga kaibigan natin na LGU na mahilig sa sports, na may mga talagang totohanang sports program, grassroots sports programs, na kung pwede ba silang tumulong sa atin, together with the NSAs, maghati-hati tayo," he said.
"Example would be like, an LGU would take care of the billeting, transportation within, food and the others, paghahati-hatian. Let's seek a formula," he added.
"As they say, mate-test natin ngayon that nakaka-unite ba talaga ang sports, 'no? So we hope a lot of our LGU leaders would support sports, para naman 'to sa atletang Pilipino eh. That's what we're hoping."
Fernandez plans to sit down with Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino in the coming weeks to fine-tune the details of his plan. Already, he has some LGUs in mind that he hopes to partner with, including Zamboanga and Antique.
"It's just really a matter of getting together and working things out, coming up with a formula on how to go about these things," he said.
"We should be able to do this, at least in two months' time, get that over and done with in two months' time so that we can hit the target of four months, three months before the SEA Games, nag-train na ang mga atleta natin," he added.
The 2021 SEA Games is set for November 21 to December 2 in Hanoi, Vietnam.