MANILA, Philippines–Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino is optimistic that the proposed P180-million budget for sports in the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act II will be green lighted by the bicameral body to alleviate the financial concerns of the national athletes during this time of the pandemic.
“Our athletes deserve to get their allowances back in full,’’ said Tolentino. “Hopefully, it gets approved (in the bicameral meeting).’’
Tolentino, who also sits as representative of Cavite’s fifth district, inserted the monetary aid for athletes and coaches into the Bayanihan II with the help of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
The bicameral body of the House of Representatives and the Senate has been poring over the details of Bayanihan II in a series of marathon meetings.
Bayanihan II is the government’s P162-billion stimulus package to battle the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19).
Senator Grace Poe said the measure may be ratified by the bicameral conference committee by next week.
Tolentino already met with Senate President Vicente “Tito’’ Sotto III prior to Bayanihan II’s approval at the lower chamber and got the latter’s commitment.
Sotto, the present chairman of the Philippine Bowling Federation, is a former national bowler who saw action in the World Cup.
“Once it gets ratified, the funding will be released to the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission), which facilitates the payroll of national athletes and coaches,’’ said Tolentino.
The P180 million will cover the 50-percent reduction on the monthly allowances of over a thousand athletes and coaches from 60 sports until December 2020, plus an additional of P5,000 each as COVID-19 aid.
It could likewise help finance the training of athletes bound for the Tokyo Olympics and those who are aiming to qualify to the quadrennial global Games, according to PSC Chairman William Ramirez.
The PSC was forced to reduce the salaries of athletes and coaches by 50 percent starting last month after monthly remittances from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation decreased dramatically.
The agency’s share from the profit of Pagcor diminished after nationwide casino operations ceased for months due to the series of lockdowns brought about by COVID-19 since the middle of March this year.
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