MAXIMIZING the Philippine Sports Commission’s savings of half a billion pesos could spell the difference in the country’s bid to end its medal drought in the Olympics three years from now in Rio de Janeiro.
With the PSC confirming the surplus from its corporate funds, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero yesterday urged the agency to spend the money wisely with the buildup to the Olympics in mind.
PSC chair Richie Garcia offered the bulk of the savings to the national sports associations to boost their preparations for the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and the Olympics.
But Escudero said the PSC should look beyond the December SEA Games in Myanmar.
“This is the first time the PSC is claiming savings of as much as half-a-billion pesos that do not need to be returned to the national treasury,” he said.
“Any savings is always good news. Spending these savings wisely and effectively would make better news, however.”
Escudero, one of the Senate’s most vocal supporters of local sports, pushed for a bigger budget for priority sports to revive the country’s hope of winning its very first Olympic gold.
The Philippines has not won a medal in the Olympics since 1996, when boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco bagged a silver in the Atlanta Games.
“The PSC has the capability to stop our decline this time,” Escudero said. “On the part of the national government, our top leaders could give the PSC’s programs an extra push, while we in Congress should make an extra effort to give the PSC its equitable share from the national budget as long as it could justify its expenses related to sports development.”
The Philippines ended up sixth in the last SEA Games edition in Indonesia.
“While the SEA Games remain important in our sporting calendar, we should not take our focus away from the Olympics,” said Escudero, an avid combat shooter and biking enthusiast. Cedelf P. Tupas