The House of Representatives will do its best to restore the full cash allowances given to national athletes and coaches.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, who is also a congressman of the 8th District of Cavite, said this some three weeks after the board of the Philippine Sports Commission decided to cut the athletes’ pay in half by next month.
Tolentino said he is seeking the help of Congress through the extension of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
Lawmakers are working on passing new legislation that would grant President Rodrigo Duterte additional special powers for the soon to be revived measure.
This will allow the President the authority to use government funds to give the second tranche of cash aid to low-income families and health workers a special risk allowance, while adding national athletes and coaches in the list of beneficiaries.
Republic Act 11469, or the first Bayanihan Act which expired last June 6, did not include national athletes and coaches when it was passed.
“We will try to return it (full allowance) in the extension of the Bayanihan Act,” said Tolentino, who spoke on the occasion of announcements related to Tuesday’s Olympic Day Celebration and a Zoom web conference with Philippine Olympian Association members Stephen Fernandez, Akiko Thomson-Guevarra and Jhessie Lacuna, along with POC secretary general Ed Gastanes.
He added that he is doing this in his capacity as a member of Congress.
An allocation meant for national athletes and coaches, which amounted to between P500 million to P700 million was reportedly redirected from the National Sports Development Fund to the government’s coronavirus response fund.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation remitted only P9 million to the PSC this month, its lowest in years.
Prior to this, PAGCOR remitted P150.75 million to the PSC on March 31, 2020, from the corporation’s February earnings.
PSC chairman William Ramirez said the cutbacks could take place until December, explaining that once the NSDF reaches a comfortable level again, financial assistance will be restored to the present rate.
Meanwhile, despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, sports officials worldwide are still keen on celebrating Olympic Day.
“We are one our belief that this unfortunate situation shows the importance of good physical condition in health in this time of the pandemic. Olympic values stressing excellence and respect has importance now, even when our connections and interactions as a movement are limited,” added Tolentino.