Olympic sports get big piece of PSC pie
Despite the raging COVID-19 health crisis, the government will not hold back from throwing all-out support to national athletes who have grand dreams of seeing themselves in the Tokyo Olympics.
Last year alone, the Philippine Sports Commission released over half-a-billion pesos in government funding for the 62 national sports associations under the Philippine Olympic Committee.
In a document obtained by the Inquirer, Olympic sports got the lion’s share of the P523 million the sports agency disbursed to these NSAs in 2020, even though the country’s economy plunged into recession.
These NSAs, which are all private and autonomous in nature, likewise got a humongous financial allotment from the PSC in 2019 of nearly P1.2 billion and translated the assistance into an overall title for Team Philippines in the 31st Southeast Asian Games.
Medal-rich sports athletics and swimming were the top recipients of the funds, with the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association Inc. receiving P34.4 million last year and Philippine Swimming Inc. getting P28.2 million.
Both sports have the most number of athletes, including their developmental rosters, which train and compete in at least 40 events on the track and in the pool.
Boxing, which delivered the most number of Olympic medals for the country, also got the support it needed when the PSC released P24.1 million to the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines in funding last year.
The salaries of coaches, a lot of them foreigners, are included in the figures.
Part of Patafa’s expenses went to the training and competition of Olympic-bound EJ Obiena in Europe after the pole vault ace has set up camp in Italy for over a year now.
Abap has two Olympic qualifiers in Irish Magno and Eumir Marcial and another two pugs might join them—world champion Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam—once the International Olympic Committee announces the official list of qualifiers.
The government has been investing heavily on world champion gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo’s quest to win an Olympic gold, doling out P18.7 million in 2020 to the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines to subsidize the training of Yulo in Japan.
Filipino rowers, who have made great strides in the 2019 SEA Games, are fifth on the PSC list after the Philippine Rowing Association received P16.5M while the Samahang Weightlifting sa Pilipinas is sixth with P13M, the bulk of which went to the preparation of Hidilyn Diaz for the Olympics.
Other NSAs that got the most financial aid from the PSC are the Philippine Taekwondo Association (P12.5M), Karate Pilipinas (P11.9M), Philippine Fencing Association (P11.6M), Philippine Canoe-Kayak Dragonboat Federation (P10.8M) and Philippine Amateur Baseball Association (P10.2M).
The PSC financial assistance gradually grew since PSC Chairman William Ramirez took over the agency in 2016.
From P145.4 million in 2010 that steadily improved to P332.7M in 2015, the NSAs received a total average of P645M in 2017 and 2018. Over 10 years, these NSAs got over P5.1 billion from the government through the PSC.
This year, the agency is expected to shell out more than the allocated Olympic budget of P180 million for the benefit of at least 80 athletes who are all vying for Olympic spots and for the training of those who already punched their tickets to Tokyo.