Reinstatement of full pay a blessing for athletes
Annie Ramirez was not one to complain when allowances for national athletes were slashed in half as the government coped with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was still thankful; at least, I had something,” said the jiujitsu standout, a gold medalist in last year’s Southeast Asian Games.
But even she had to admit the passing of Bayanihan to Recover as One Law, or Bayanihan 2, a law that also reinstates to 100 percent the allowances of national athletes, is a godsend.
“The bills we paid weren’t slashed in half,” Ramirez said, chuckling. “So any form of financial help for us athletes really matters, especially during this time.”
The reinstatement of full allowances is expected next week and will be retroactive, Philippine Olympic Committee president Amraham “Bambol” Tolentino said.
“This is good news for our athletes who have become anxious and even lost their focus during the pandemic. With their allowances back to normal, they can now concentrate on their training,” said Tolentino, the Cavite representative who helped push for the Bayanihan 2 law in Congress.
A total of P180 million has been allocated in Bayanihan 2 for the national team members allowances.
And it couldn’t have come for a better time for full-time national athletes like Ramirez, who rely mostly on their allowances, what with the holidays approaching.
“I do part-time work as a trainer in our gym, but even that doesn’t generate much income because we are a contact sport and there are things that we aren’t allowed to do yet,” Ramirez said.
Tolentino also said each of the athletes and coaches will receive a one-time P5,000 pandemic assistance.
“The funds are now with the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) and we expect the allowances to be back to normal on the next pay day for the athletes and coaches,” Tolentino added.
Under the PSC’s care are 996 athletes, 262 coaches, 280 para athletes and 82 para coaches. The total monthly payroll is P41 million.