April 14, 2024

Baguio athletes are facing a challenge: Lack of funds for their incentives.
During the city council session on March 4, members were informed of the looming deficit in the budget allocated for the city athletes and their achievement.
City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said the current budget had fallen drastically short of the required funds to pay the incentives of athletes.
He said the city government owed athletes a staggering P7.5 million for accomplishments in 2023, while only allocating P4.5M for 2024.
Dela Peña said while there is a surplus from the 2023 budget, it is insufficient to cover the outstanding incentives owed to athletes.
To cover for the P7.5M incentives, he said their office needs a budget of approximately P3M for 2024, as he expressed hope the Local Finance Committee would provide the funds.
He proposed increasing the budget, adding before the pandemic, the budget for incentives was P8M but was reduced to P3.5M during the pandemic.
He suggested revisiting the budget to meet the increased demand due to the resurgence of sports events post-pandemic.
One significant factor that led to the budget deficit was the amendment of the city’s Sports Code which allowed the increase of incentives provided to athletes and removed certain restrictions or limitations on those incentives including a cap on the amount of incentive they could receive, regardless of the number of medals won.
Gaudencio Gonzales, Sports Development Officer IV, said the removal of limitations was a response to the complaints of athletes and their parents who felt it was unfair for athletes who excelled to be subject to limitations on their incentives.
Councilors Betty Lourdes Tabanda and Peter Fianza emphasized the importance of following proper procedures outlined in the Sports Code for recognizing athletes and drawing incentives.
They suggested only athletes who received prior authorization from the city should be eligible for incentives.
They recommended revisiting certain provisions of the Sports Code to address the issues raised during the discussion.
The city council referred the matter to the committee on youth welfare and sports development for further study. – Jordan G. Habbiling