POC chief to fight for national athletes’ allowances

PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino pledged to help bring the allowances of the national athletes back to their original state after it was restructured to direct funds toward the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tolentino said while his hands are tied as a POC official, he can carry the fight forward as a member of the House of Representatives. This he revealed during a virtual press conference that was held in celebration of Olympic Day 2020.

“I will try, not as POC president but as member of the House of Representatives. We will try to regain the amount taken from the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) which was returned to the national treasury for Covid-19 use,” said Tolentino.

The NSDF is where the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) gets its resources for the allowances of the members of the different national teams. However, athletes’ morale took a huge blow when it was announced last month that as much as P900 million was going to be returned to the national treasury to help supplement the country’s efforts against Covid-19.

For the athletes, this meant taking a 50 percent cut in their monthly allowances, which starts next month. However, Tolentino said he will try to find a way to resolve this issue in Congress.

“Just so that our athletes’ allowances wouldn’t be slashed and may be in full again,” reiterated the POC chief.

Tolentino added that President Rodrigo Duterte might not be aware that the athletes’ allowances had also been impacted by the budget cut. The POC boss surmised that Duterte definitely would not permit cutting the athletes’ allowances, especially with how they performed during the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games wherein the Philippines claimed the overall title.

“Maybe after (Duterte) learns that the ones hit were the athletes who brought pride and glory (to the country) after being declared overall champion in the SEA Games? Let’s try to make a push for it,” Tolentino added. (JNP)