Congress has announced plans to raise the national sports budget after the Philippines’ historic victories at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics.
These plans would address the athletes’ apparent lack of financial support and would allocate funds for the resumption of their bubble training sessions in preparation for the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam next year.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, Chairman of the House ways and means committee, emphasized that the government should invest in athletes while training.
“Of course, the tax law is good, but we need to invest in our athletes before they win. That’s the way to get more podium finishes. They need help during training, not after they win,” Salceda said.
Salceda applauded the administration for allotting a 944-million budget to the Philippine Olympics Committee (POC), which he cited as the ‘game changer’.
“Under past presidents, we budgeted only around P230 to P260 million [for] the POC during [the] Olympics. Certainly, this was the case during the past two administrations. In fact, even GMA gave higher budgets to the POC than under P-Noy,” Salceda said, concerning the past presidents Gloria Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III.
Meanwhile, athletes are expected to start preparing for the upcoming SEA Games, said by the Commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Ramon Fernandez, and Vietnam SEA Games Philippine Team, Chef de Mission, following the approval of the resumption of bubble training for the National Sports Associations (NSA).
“Tuloy ang training para magamit yung budget,” Fernandez added.
Although the host country has yet to announce an exact date after postponing this year’s SEA Games, it is anticipated that Filipino athletes would compete in the 2022 Asian Games in September in Hangzhou, China instead.
LAYOUT BY: Cristine Joie Q. Bacud
PHOTO SOURCE(S): Manila Bulletin, Echo Antonio