The proposed budget of the Philippine Sports Commission for next year was approved on the committee level of the Senate on Tuesday.

In a virtual public hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Finance presided by Subcommittee F chairperson Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, along with fellow senators Imee Marcos and Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay, the committee approved the proposed PSC budget amounting to P207 million after hearing officials of the sports body make their presentation.

Representing the PSC at the hearing were its Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, Commissioner Ramon Fernandez and Acting Executive Director Atty. Guillermo Iroy, who presented a breakdown of the proposal he said had already gone through study and approval of the Department of Budget Management.

Part of the budget is allocated for the salaries of employees, maintenance and renovation of facilities.

The PSC, however, in separate proposal asked for an additional amount of P250 million to cover expenses for the preparation and participation for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam, along with budgets for the Paralympics, Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, Asian Youth Games and the Asian Beach Games.

Mr. Ramirez said the additional funding will be “vital” in the national athletes’ push, particularly in the Olympics, where they hope to do well, including possibly winning for the country that elusive first-ever gold medal.

The PSC chairman shared that apart from the four athletes already qualified for the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, next year, dozens more are in the thick of the fight for qualification.

Those who have already qualified are pole-vaulter Ernest John Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno.

Mr. Go, also chairperson of the Senate Committee on Sports, took note of the PSC’s request in behalf of the national athletes and committed to find ways to help the agency.

Following the committee approval are the plenary deliberations, the schedule of which will be announced at a later date. – Michael Angelo S. Murillo