MANILA, Philippines -- The congressmen of the Committee on Youth and Sports Development promised their support, after the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on Wednesday lobbied for a boost of their budget for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
In a committee meeting led by committee head Representative Eric Martinez, PSC chairman William "Butch" Ramirez bared the sports agency's need for its slashed funds to be continued, so that it can continue supporting the training and competitions of the country's Olympic qualifiers and hopefuls.
"We were one of those government offices who also contributed to the Bayanihan Act. The DBM (Department of Budget and Management) deducted from us," Ramirez explained.
"Para sa amin malaking bagay 'yun kasi kasama doon 'yung Olympic budget namin. Hanggang ngayon po bakante 'yan. It's an opportunity for us to ask, we need your help," he added.
Ramirez presented to the committee the Olympic budget request of more than P182 million, made by chef de mission Mariano "Nonong" Araneta on behalf of the Tokyo-bound athletes and hopefuls. He stressed that Congress can give the country's Olympic dreams a massive boost.
"Rep. Bambol Tolentino has initially supported 'yung P180 million na allowances ng atleta which was approved by the bicam, and to be approved by the President. Thank you sa lahat ng congressman na sumuporta. Pero 'yung Olympic budget namin, we are hoping again for your support," he said.
Ramirez informed the body that at the moment, the PSC is operating on the savings coming from PAGCOR. The budget for elite athletes, meanwhile, comes from the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF).
"We still have enough budget, (but) just enough for us to reach December," said Ramirez, in his response to committee vice-chair Jericho Nograles' inquiry on the PSC's funds.
The commission's budget was slashed P596 million from the NSDF, and another P773 million from the General Appropriations Act by the DBM, to aid in the COVID-19 national health crisis.
Ramirez received assurance from the committee that they will work to give the needed aid to the Olympians.
"Rest assured that we will do our part to get the funding for this Olympics. All hands are in. Dapat lahat tayo dito. This is the best chance we have," said Martinez.
Martinez added that they would have to discuss the matter with the DBM, and to do so at the soonest time possible because the athletes "need that budget for the Olympics."
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).