There's a good harmony existing now between the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee, which is probably the reason why Philippine sports has been getting high grades both locally and internationally.
Proof is the country’s dominant performance in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and now we’re sending what could probably be the strongest Olympic delegation to the Olympics.
PSC chairman Butch Ramirez and POC president Bambol Tolentino both adhere to the principle of the word “accountability” because they are both from the government service, with the latter being an active lawmaker representing Tagaytay District in the House of Representatives.
In the past, the POC-PSC relationship was never as smooth. Either the PSC chairman and the commissioners were appointed through the political clout of the POC chief or, the PSC chair and the POC chief tried to outdo each other. Pataasan ng ihi, as they say.
In the case of Ramirez and Tolentino, they have learned to respect each other’s turf. They learned to work things together for the good of the national athletes. Because of Tolentino’s clout in Congress, the PSC found an ally when it was time to defend its budgetary requirement.
They did that in the 2019 SEA Games hosting.
And during the nearly two years that the country—and the world- is under the COVID-19 pandemic—Tolentino again helped put additional funds to the PSC for the athletes and coaches allowances through its inclusion in the Bayanihan Act 1.
The PSC’s coffers is in the red without the help of the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation, whose operations have been largely affected by the pandemic.
Ramirez will again need the help of Tolentino at the lower house and his sportsmen friends in the Senate—Senator Bong Go and Francis Tolentino—for approval to double its budget for the country’s participation in the Vietnam SEA Games, which is expected to get underway in April or May 2022 after it was postponed by the organizers.
The PSC has allotted P200 million for the Philippine delegation to the Vietnam SEA Games and Ramirez said they want to double the budget because the Philippines intends to stay within the top 3 after becoming the overall champion in 2019.
While the PSC’s general mandate is the grassroots program for sports, it has to balance its support for elite sports because the country’s pride in the international stage is at stake. So far, Ramirez reported that the PSC has already spent at least P2 billion for elite sports since 2016 and most recently, majority of it were spent for the training of nearly 100 athletes who dared to aim for the Tokyo Olympics.
Now we have the magnificent 19 athletes who will try to bring home the country’s first-ever Olympic god medal.
And Ramirez, a septuagenarian, will take the risk (amid COVID-19 pandemic) to be where the action is.
“Yes, I will be in Tokyo. It’s dangerous for my age but I will serve as the representative of the Filipinos to attend all the 19 events our athletes are participating in. The gold medal is the values and learnings the athletes get as they reach the Olympics,” said Ramirez.
It can be very frustrating if we won’t bring home a gold, according to Ramirez.
“The people are expecting. After all, it’s the people who spent for our athletes. We are accountable to the Filipino people.”