TEAM sports also stand to benefit from the recently approved stimulus package of the government in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

In an announcement, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) said national athletes in team sports, just like the rest of Team Philippines (PHL), are also included in the Bayanihan Act II, which has a provision for the allowances of national athletes and coaches.

At the height of the pandemic, the PSC made the tough decision to slash by half the allowances of national team members because a large part of its budget was rechanneled to efforts in the fight against the pandemic.

But local sports officials moved to have the allowances back at full amount by including a request for P180 million as part of Republic Act No. 11494, or “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” which President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed.

Traditionally, allowances of team sports are limited to a few months before and after a major international competition such as the Asian Games or the Southeast Asian Games (SEA), because of the considerable budget it entails.

However, coming off Team Philippines’ overall championship finish in the 30th SEA Games last year, the PSC Board approved the extension of allowances until July of this year.

But with the crisis at hand, the sports agency approved to continue this until the end of the year and included team sports in the budget from Bayanihan Act II.

With that, national athletes in team sports are set to receive the remaining 50% of their June and July allowances and shall continue to receive their full allowance up to December.

Along with the rest of Team Philippines, they, too, shall receive the “special amelioration package” given by the government.

Set to benefit from these are 199 athletes and 39 coaches belonging to teams of eight sports, namely: aquatics-water polo, baseball, dragonboat, handball, ice hockey, softball, underwater hockey, and volleyball.

“A community coming together really makes a whole lot of difference,” said PSC chairman William Ramirez in a statement, underscoring the collaboration that went into the efforts to return the full amount of the athletes’ allowances, including that with the Philippine Olympic Committee. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo