The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved the request of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) for an additional P650 million for the Philippine Sports Commission’s (PSC) 2022 budget from general appropriations. 

POC President Abraham N. Tolentino, who is also a representative from the eighth district of Cavite, sought for the additional budget to fund the training and participation of national athletes to at least five major international competitions. 

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), through the National Expenditure Program, appropriated only P175 million for the PSC, figures that cover only bare essentials for the government sports agency’s operations for the coming year. 

Mr. Tolentino informed the House committee of the importance of major international competitions that are held every four years as necessary to build on the momentum of the multiple medals won in the recent Olympic Games in Tokyo, where the country won its first-ever gold medal.  

These are the Beijing Winter Olympics (Feb. 4 to 20), Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Thailand (March 10 to 20), The World Games (TWG) in Birmingham, Alabama, USA (July 7 to 22), Huangzhou Asian Games (Sept. 10 to 25) and Shantou Asian Youth Games (Dec. 20 to 28). 

In his manifestation during the House Committee on Finance hearing, Mr. Tolentino also included the postponed 31stSoutheast Asian Games which Vietnam is bound to host also in 2022. 

“With due respect to the DBM, we in the POC were not consulted — and again with due respect to the PSC — we were not also asked, as part of planning, on how much is needed to fund our athletes for these major international competitions,” Mr. Tolentino said in his manifestation. 

“We are protecting and making sure that our qualified national athletes can compete in full force in those four major events that happen only once every four years, plus the SEA Games in Vietnam where we are the defending overall champion,” he said. 

Mr. Tolentino earlier planned a budget ofP5 million for the Winter Olympics, P150 million for the AIMAG, P10 million for the TWG, P270 million for Asian Games and P15 million for the AYG. The SEA Games budget was pegged at P200 million. 

“The total budget is a measly sum and this could be tapped from several sources … my concern is the budget needed by our athletes in these major competitions,” he said. “I am also willing to put a provision — as an oversight function — that all cancelled competitions will be treated as savings and will be returned to the DBM or the National Treasury.” 

Both the Minority and Majority supported Mr. Tolentino’s manifestation for the additional budget for the PSC. 

PSC Chairman William Ramirez and his chief of staff Mark Velasco were also present at the hearing.