MANILA - Former taekwondo champion Monsour Del Rosario on Friday said he would create a retirement fund for athletes if he is elected senator.
Del Rosario, who has represented the Philippines in various international competitions, including the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, is running for senator under the ticket of Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
"I want to make sure that when these athletes retire, they have something. Also, when they’re an athlete, they should be taken care of, at least enough allowance," he told ANC's Headstart.
He said he does not want a repeat of what happened to one of his good friends after the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. "He won the silver medal, came home and was promised to be taken care of and [only] half of the promises were just given to him. Later on, it was so sad what happened to him: he had to be an actor, someone was just tapping and hitting him. I don’t like that," he said.
Although Del Rosario did not mention the name of his friend during the interview, boxer Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco earlier said that he was yet to get the P2.5 million cash incentive that some lawmakers pledged when he won the medal in 1996.
Del Rosario said, when he meets champions from other countries whom he had fought decades back, they tell him that they receive pension from their respective governments. However, he said he feels bad when he sees his former teammates because "they're really struggling and some of them have left the country because there's no future for them here."
"It’s so sad to see Olympic athletes, Asian Games medalists, world medalists selling their medals just to buy medicine. They give honor to our country. I don’t want to see that," he said.
He also hopes to entice star athletes to stay in the country and train the next generation of competitors.
"The great athletes that we made, they’re not here taking care of our youth. They’re in another country taking care of foreigners. We should keep them here, that’s our talent, we made them, we honed them," he said.
"I’ll have dialogues with the athletes, coaches. Whatever they need and I’ll be open to their suggestions and come up with whatever I can if I make it," he added.
Apart from programs for athletes, Del Rosario also hopes to focus on healthcare workers and agriculture. He also proposes putting up special schools for children with special needs.