House approves additional budget for PSC

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 29 2021 03:41 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved the request of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) for an additional P650 million for the budget of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for 2022.

POC president Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino, also the representative of Cavite's 8th District, sought an additional budget for the PSC to fund the training and participation of national athletes in at least five major international competitions.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), through the National Expenditure Program, appropriated only P175 million for the PSC -- which the POC said covers only the bare essentials for the sports agency's operations in 2022.

Tolentino informed the committee of the importance of four major international competitions that are held every four years as necessary to build on the momentum of the multiple medals — especially Hidilyn Diaz’s weightlifting title that gave the Philippines its first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo after close to a century of participation.

These are the Beijing Winter Olympics (February 4 to 20), Thailand Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (March 10 to 20), The World Games or TWG (Birmingham, Alabama, USA, July 7 to 22), Huangzhou Asian Games (September 10 to 25) and Shantou Asian Youth Games (December 20 to 28).

In his manifestation during the House Committee on Finance hearing presided over by Deputy Speaker Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, Tolentino also included the postponed 31st Southeast Asian Games which Vietnam is bound to host also in 2022.

"With due respect to the DBM, we in the POC were not consulted — and again with due respect to the PSC — we were not also asked, as part of planning, on how much is needed to fund our athletes for these major international competitions," Tolentino said.

"We are protecting and making sure that our qualified national athletes can compete in full force in those four major events that happen only once every four years, plus the SEA Games in Vietnam where we are the defending overall champion," Tolentino added.

Tolentino earlier planned a budget of P5 million for the Winter Olympics, P150 million for the AIMAG, P10 million for the TWG, P270 million for Asian Games and P15 million for the AYG. The SEA Games budget was pegged at P200 million.

"The total budget is a measly sum and this could be tapped from several sources …My concern is the budget needed by our athletes in these major competitions," he said.

"I am also willing to put a provision — as an oversight function — that all canceled competitions will be treated as savings and will be returned to the DBM or the National Treasury," he added. 

"Only P175 million is given to the PSC but we badly need this P650 million and we promise that we will give another honor for the country. We cannot ignore or forget the pride and honor that our athletes are giving to us and to the country."

Both the minority and majority supported Tolentino’s manifestation for the additional budget for the PSC.

"This is well-deserved for the PSC," said Herrera-Dy.

PSC chairman William Ramirez and his chief of staff Marc Velasco also attended the hearing.