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Palace cites figures to back claim of higher investment in Pinoy athletes

Malacañang on Tuesday presented figures to justify its position that its huge investment in athletes resulted in the country's best performance in the Olympic games, including winning its first Olympic gold.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Duterte administration, based on records, gave the Philippine Sports Commission a budget of P223.5 million during its first full year in power in 2017, much higher than the P168 million budget given by the Aquino administration in 2011.

The PSC budget, however, went down to P199 million in 2018 before going up to P5.3 billion in 2019 when the Philippines hosted the Southeast Asian Games.

The sports body went on to get a P944-million budget in 2020 before receiving P1.3 billion in 2021, the year the Tokyo Olympics finally pushed through after a year of postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"May direct correlation talaga ang pag-invest ng Presidente sa performance ng ating mga atleta," Roque said.

(There is really direct correlation between the investment of the President in the athletes and our athletes' performance.) 

The Aquino administration, on the other hand, gave PSC P178 million in 2012, P179 million in 2013, P182 million in 2014, P186 million in 2015 and P189 million in 2016.

The overall national budget increased from P1.6 trillion in 2011 to P4.5 trillion in 2021. 

In the past decade, the PSC's budget never reached one percent of the overall amount of national budget.

Just last month, the Palace admitted that national team athletes are not getting enough financial support.

"Kulang po talaga, parang minimum wage nga lang po ang allowance ng ating mga atleta. Titignan natin kung paano mababago ito," Roque said.

(It is really not enough, it is as if it is on the level of minimum wage for our athletes and we will look for ways how can we change this.)

Struggle and glory 

The Philippines’ final Olympic medal haul in the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics stood at one gold, two silvers and one bronze, making it the best performing country in Southeast Asia and finishing 50th out of 86 countries.

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz bagged the Philippines’ first Olympic medal in the 55-kilogram category. Boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam followed Diaz’s winning run by bagging the silver in the women's featherweight and men's flyweight division, respectively. 

Boxer Marcial, on the other hand, settled for bronze in the men's middleweight division. 

Back in May 2019, Diaz said she was really having a tough time in funding her Olympic training and that she wants to seek the help of the private sector, even if such move could be embarrassing. 

Marcial, on the other hand, expressed frustration just last May that the funds for his Olympic training was not enough

Also in March this year, Tokyo 2020 Olympic boxer Irish Magno raised concerns over the delayed release of their allowance, but she later deleted her Facebook post for reasons that were not made clear. —KG, GMA News