President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday promised to solve the problem of the lack of financial support for athletes representing the country by collecting unpaid taxes from “oligarchs who continue to wallow in the filth of wealth.”
At a brief send-off ceremony for the country's 12-athlete delegation to the 2016 Rio Olympics, Duterte lamented the plight of those who wear the country's colors.
“Tayo dito, we’re trying to train athletes for country for the greater glory of this Philippines. Hirap tayo kung saan tayo. And yet, the oligarchs continue to wallow in the filth of wealth, I said, and enjoying the fat of this nation,” Duterte said.
“Parang kalokohan dito. So that is why I said I assure you during my time, I will get the money from the pockets of those who are not paying and give it to you to train,” he added.
Duterte claimed that the Philippines loses “about P300 million a day” in all ports across the country.
“If I can just collect it, one month, two months, ibigay ko sa inyo. Tapos na ang problema ko sa at least ‘yung ating athletes, or for the poor,” he said.
Being a part of a sports team representing the country is much like being a public servant, Duterte said, adding that all of them work for love of country and honor despite the meager pay they receive.
“Of the 100 million Filipinos plus, few are given the opportunity to be a part of a team or to be working in government and it’s not given to everybody. That honor is very distinct,” he said.
“You work everyday, and ang sweldo, kakaunti lang masyado at may dalawa akong pamilya. Paghatian nilang dalawa, tingnan ko kung paano yan. Wala akong allowance para sa akin, no more happiness,” Duterte quipped.
At the end of his speech, Duterte promised an increase of allowance to the Rio-bound athletes.
“Be comfortable in the thought that in the coming days, you will have more support because I will collect taxes. At maasahan ninyo graft and corruption will stop right on its tracks,” he said. —JST, GMA News