MANILA, Philippines -- The proposed budget of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for 2021 received approval on the committee level of the Senate on Tuesday, after a virtual hearing presided by Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, the chairman of the Committee on Sports, along with Senators Imee Marcos and Nancy Binay.
The PSC was represented in the virtual hearing by chairman William "Butch" Ramirez and commissioner Ramon Fernandez, with acting executive director Atty. Guillermo Iroy presenting the breakdown of the proposal.
The proposed budget totals P207 million, which has already been studied and approved by the Department of Budget Management.
The expenses for the preparation and participation of the country in the Tokyo Olympics and the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam next year were sought in a separate proposal. Also included in this proposal are budgets for the Paralympics, the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, the Asian Youth Games, and the Asian Beach Games.
These expenses amount to P250 million.
Go, in his opening statement, first commended the PSC and the organizers for the country's successful hosting of 30th Southeast Asian Games in late 2019, which saw Team Philippines regain the overall championship for the first time in 14 years.
"Nakaka-proud po, nakakataba ng puso 'yung nangyari nung nakaraang taon, toward the end of the year, 'yung ating success po sa Southeast Asian Games kung saan tayo nanalo at nag-top," he said.
Go acknowledged that sports are not high on the list of priorities at the moment, especially as the country continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he vowed to ensure that Filipino athletes will be taken care of.
"Priority pa rin natin ang mga atleta at kapakanan nila. Dapat matanggap nila ang allowances nila on time, lalo na ngayong
pandemya," said Go.
"Bukas po ang aking opisina para tumulong at mag-follow up po kaagad para sa ating mga atleta. Huwag po natin silang pabayaan," he added.
Also in attendance was Games and Amusement Board chairman Baham Mitra, who was there to also present their own proposed budget.
Plenary deliberations will follow at a schedule to be announced later.