By Kristel Satumbaga
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President and Tagaytay City Rep. Bambol Tolentino sought an additional P510 million budget for the elite sports for 2021 believing the country has a potential of winning multiple medals at the rescheduled Tokyo Games.
“Tokyo could be that host city where the country could win not one, not two, but probably more Olympic gold medals in 2021. And along this line, the athletes need all the support in their bid to accomplish what has never been achieved before,” Tolentino said after his interpellation on the Philippine Sports Commission’s (PSC) proposed budget for 2021.
The country has already four Olympic qualifiers in pole vaulter EJ Obiena, world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno. More athletes are still vying for Olympic berths after most qualifiers were postponed to next year due to the pandemic.
The PSC said the Department of Budget Management-endorsed P207 million budget for next year is intended for the agency’s operations and personnel’s salaries.
“The PSC needs the full support of Congress—the House and Senate—because 2021 is the year when the Olympic gold medal beckons,” Tolentino said.
“I am confident that the elusive gold medal will be achieved in Tokyo,” he added.
According to PSC chairman Butch Ramirez, the P150 million from the P510 million proposal will be for the Tokyo Olympics campaign, while P100 million will be for the preparation and participation in the 2021 Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam.
The remaining P250 million will be allocated for the Asian Beach Games, Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games, Asian Youth Games, Asian Youth Para Games, SEA Para Games, Tokyo Paralympics and Asean Youth Games.
Tolentino said the SEAG is also on top of the priorities as the country will defend its overall title. Last year, the PH team won 149 gold, 117 silver and 121 bronze medals.
The country currently has four Olympic qualifiers in pole vaulter EJ Obiena, world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno. More athletes are still vying for Olympic berths after most qualifiers were postponed to next year due to the pandemic.