With around P1.3 billion of its funds redirected back to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to fund the country’s Covid-19 fight, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) assured members of the national team of its support for their 2021 Tokyo Olympics bid.
By virtue of Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, P596 Million, and P773 Million were realigned by the DBM from the sports agency’s National Sports Development Fund and the fund from the General Appropriations Act (GAA) respectively.
Before the lockdown, the Philippines already had four qualifiers for the 32nd quadrennial meet including national pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena, male artistic gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo, national boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno.
The PSC board assured that the agency will support them for as long as they can, explaining that the investment of both the government and the athletes into their Olympic dream cannot be set aside that easily.
PSC Chairman William Ramirez is hoping to send more athletes to represent the country in the prestigious multi-sport event.
“We will not waiver in our quest to fulfill the country’s Olympic dream and we are very hopeful that more athletes will be able to qualify once the situation gets better,” said Ramirez.
The sports agency is banking its hopes on 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting, four-time SEA Games champion Kiyomi Watanabe of judo, 2019 SEAG double-gold medal winner Margielyn Didal of skateboarding, multi-titled jin Pauline Lopez of taekwondo, and Junna Tsukii of karatedo among others.
The budget cut has forced the sports agency to take belt-tightening measures in recent weeks, to be able to cover all commitments.
“It’s a tough situation but we understand the priorities of the national government. We will do what we can to continue the support we give to our athletes especially those vying for an Olympic slot,” said Ramirez.
Aside from financial support, the PSC also continues to provide online sports psychology consultations, virtual training sessions, nutrition, physiology, and conditioning webinars to athletes and coaches through PSC’s Medical Scientific Athletic Services (MSAS) and the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI).