Palace asserts 'investment' in Filipino athletes after flak from lawmaker
Malacañang on Tuesday asserted that government invested in Filipino athletes following the Philippines' record 4-medal haul at the recent Olympic Games, including the country's first Olympic gold.
The Duterte administration allotted P233 million to sports in its first full year, more than the P168 million that the previous Aquino administration spent on its first full year in 2011, said Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
This year, government set aside P1.3 billion for sports, he said in a press briefing.
"Meron talagang direct correlation doon sa halaga ng ini-invest natin sa sports at mga nagiging performance ng ating mga atleta," Roque said.
(There really is a direct correlation between the amount we invested in sports and the performance of our athletes.)
Part of the funds went to new facilities at the New Clark Athletic Center, said the official.
"Ito po’y talagang mahalagang investments hindi lang sa imprastraktura, kung hindi ito po’y investment sa ating tinatawag na human capital, ang ating mga atleta," he said.
(These are important investments not just for infrastructure, but in what we call human capital, our athletes.)
Roque on Monday claimed the country's best Olympic finish was a "fruit" of the administration's support for Filipino athletes.
Last July, he admitted government aid for athletes was insufficient, an issue that the country's first Olympic gold medalist, Hidilyn Diaz, previously raised.
The weightlifting star, who brought home the Philippines' first Olympic gold, had to solicit financial support in 2019.
Just over two months away from the Tokyo Olympics, Filipino Olympian Eumir Marcial and the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) were also still having issues regarding his training expenses.
In an interview on Noli Eala's Power & Play, Marcial claimed then he was not receiving much support from concerned agencies while he continued his preparations for the Games.
"Since nung umalis po ako, wala po akong natanggap na tulong galing po sa ating mga tumutulong sa sports," said the heavy-handed middleweight, who would later get a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
(Since I left, I did not receive help from those who assist in sports.)
“We are deeply disgusted by Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque's claim that the historic feat of Filipino Olympians in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics is brought about by the Duterte government's alleged investment in our athletes," Gabriela Women’s Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas said in a statement on Monday.
Brosas pointed out that the funding for the Philippine Sports Commission for 2021 amounted to just P1.3 billion, which she said was a far cry from the P19.1 billion for the country's anti-insurgency task force, or NTF-ELCAC, which the administration is supposedly using to red tag its critics.