Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. on Friday sought a legislative inquiry on the existing laws and regulations governing sports development.
Under House Resolution 505 filed by Barzaga, a former mayor of Dasmariñas City, the legislator wants to find out if national athletes are receiving the needed support from the government.
Barzaga cited the case of chess Grandmaster Wesley So, who left the National Chess Federation of the Philippines and now plays for the United States Chess Federation.
So, who was born in Bacoor, Cavite and whose mother was an accountant of De La Salle University Hospital in Dasmariñas City, recently shocked the world when he toppled World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen to win the inaugural World Fischer Chess Championship.
To be fair, Barzaga said So was not entirely deprived of support during his years in the Philippines, receiving backing from the Philippine Sports Commission, the NCFP, headed by Rep. Prospero Pichay, and chess patrons like Reginald Tee, who took So under his wings.
The NCFP earlier insisted that So still received a monthly allowance reserved for elite national athletes from the PSC even after moving to the US on the invitation of former women’s world champion Susan Polgar to play for Webster University in Missouri.
“Yet there was no question about the disenchantment over the system that So bottled up inside for so long until it reached breaking point after one incident where, in his own words, he got caught in the middle of a feud among the kings of the sports bodies,” Barzaga said.
This happened back in 2013 after So’s gold medal from the World Universiade Games in Kazan, Russia had some quarters raising the possibility of a seven-figure incentive from the government.
In the end, however, he got none, Barzaga wrote in the resolution.
It was reasoned out that the Universiade wasn’t among the international events where gold medalists are guaranteed monetary incentives from the government under the old RA No.9644, otherwise known as the Athletes’ Incentives Act.