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Senators bat for bigger budget for PH athletes

National athletes already qualified for the Olympics like Caloy Yulo could get additional funding soon. Jade Moya (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Multiple senators expressed their support for more funds for the national athletes next year.

The call was made following the passing of the Philippine Sports Commission's budget during the plenary deliberations on Friday.

“May I request the sponsors to add a bit of budget for the Olympics and the SEA Games. I think minuscule ang budget and we need to support the athletes,” said Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri, one of the legislators who called for the additional budget.

Zubiri, a former world champion in arnis, is currently the chairman of the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Foundation.

Senators Joel Villanueva, Nancy Binay, Francis Tolentino, and Sonny Angara, who sponsored the PSC budget proposal, also supported the call.

“I hope that we can do more for sports not only because we can win medals in the SEA Games or the Olympics, but because sports is such a unifying force. It gives so much hope to our countrymen and our people, especially for the young people of our nation,” said Villanueva, a member of University of Santo Tomas' four-peat team in the UAAP during the mid-90's

The request was made due to a busy year ahead for the national athletes that will see them play in the Tokyo Olympics and the Southeast Asian Games.

Zubiri then said that the PSC deserves a bigger budget due to the leadership of Chairman Butch Ramirez.

"The chairman of the PSC does his best and he has done it with limited resources. But I must put on record Mr. President (Senate president Tito Sotto), the chairman of the PSC’s credibility is untainted in the last four years he has handled the PSC. Even the POC members have no question about his leadership in handling of funds," Zubiri further said. "I really truly appreciate the leadership of Chairman Ramirez."

Reacting to the senators' call, Ramirez said, “We are deeply touched by our senators’ support.  We thanked them for recognizing the important role sports play in nation building, as well as recognizing the dedication and sacrifice of our athletes.”

The PSC is now waiting for the ratification of the Congress version of the the agency's budget for both legislative chambers to convene for a bicameral committee.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_

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