June 9, 2023

Local athletes would have to endure a little as the Philippine Sports Commission cut in half the allowances received by all members of the national teams and training pools due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The PSC on June 10 has imposed the 50 percent monthly allowance cut to national athletes and coaches as the Covid-19 has affected its sources of funds.

During the online Philippine Sportswriters Association forum last week, PSC Chair Butch Ramirez said the cut was due to the agency realigning bulk of the allowances to the national coffers for the fight against the pandemic. 

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation also reduced its financial support to PSC due to the pandemic. The Pagcor has temporarily stopped its gaming events and ceased its remittances to the PSC.

“The allowance we get form the PSC is really a big help,” said Baguio’s own Eza Rai Yalong of the Philippine Arnis Team.

Yalong along with Abad, Elmer Manlapas, Billy Joel, and Donlee Aliga received monthly allowances as a class B athletes and members of the national training pool.

Top tier athletes like boxer Nesthy Petecio will see her P45,000 monthly stipend cut to half. Other national athletes affected by the cut in allowance are boxers Josie Gabuco, Aira Villegas and Olympics-bound Irish Magno.

Muay Thai athlete Islay Bomogao will also see a reduction of her allowance although she describes it as not as “huge” as other athletes, it was put to good use during the last two months when she donated it for relief operations. 

Ramirez said they are hoping the allowance cut will only be temporary.

But amidst this allowance cut, the national athletes and coaches would be able to get the 20 percent discount for their needs as the Bureau of Internal Revenue issued on May 29 the regulation paving the way for the full implementation of the discount.

The discounts shall be applied to food, medicine, recreation centers, hotels, lodging establishments, and sports equipment purchases.

The PSC has already issued identification cards to national athletes, with booklets similar to those used by senior citizens for their own discounts, to follow. – Ofelia C. Empian