Tolentino to help cash-strapped PSC

Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino

PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino vowed to fully wield his powers as a member of the House of Representatives to help the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) get back its funds that were realigned during this Covid-19 pandemic.

“As a member of the House of Representative, I will try to give back the amount that was taken from the PSC’s National Sports Development Fund [NSDF],” Tolentino told Monday’s forum organized by the POC in celebration of Olympic Day.

Under Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act signed into law last March 24, the Department of Budget and Management realigned the PSC’s P1.3 billion budget—P596 million from general appropriations and another P773 million from the NSDF—for the campaign to fight and survive the pandemic.

It didn’t help that the Philippine Games and Amusement Corp.’s remittance to the PSC dwindled drastically from an average of P150 million a month before the pandemic to a measly P9 million in May.

Because of the lockdown, casino operations were shuttered, leaving the Pagcor with no revenue.

Tolentino said he would insist on including a provision in the Bayanihan to Recover As One Bill that would allow the PSC’s realigned budget to be reverted back to the sports agency’s coffers.

The second version of the law that was deemed necessary during the pandemic would extend President Duterte’s emergency powers to September 30.

Tolentino is a second-term congressman for Cavite’s Eighth District. He chairs the House Committee on Accounts, cochairs Good Government and Public Accountability and Legislative Franchises and is a member for the Majority of the Games and Amusements committee.

The POC said he felt extreme compassion over the fate of the Filipino athletes, especially those who have qualified and are working to quality for the postponed Tokyo Olympics.

With a very limited budget, the PSC had no choice but to shelve all its programs for the year and only recently announced that the monthly allowances of national athletes and coaches would be cut in half.

“We are discussing with the PSC the continuation of training,” said Tolentino, also the president of the cycling federation. “The training of our athletes is lagging behind, but this is a health issue.”

The PSC also vowed to continuously support Filipino athletes despite having to scrape the bottom of its coffers.

Four Filipinos have so far qualified for the Tokyo Games set from July 23 to August 8, 2021. They are pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno.

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