ATHLETES’ ALLOWANCE. Philippine Sports Commission chairman William “Butch” Ramirez discusses sports developments during the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday (Aug. 18, 2020). Ramirez said he is hoping that funds for the allowances of national athletes and coaches would be included in the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or the Bayanihan 2 bill. (Screenshot from virtual PSA Forum)

MANILA – The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) hopes that national athletes and coaches will also be considered in the passing of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, its chairman, Butch Ramirez, said Tuesday.

House of Representatives Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Congressman Bambol Tolentino have already inquired about adding some more funds for the athletes' allowances in the budget under the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or the Bayanihan 2 bill, Ramirez said.

"The good speaker of the House (Cayetano) and Congressman Bambol Tolentino, the concurrent president of the Philippine Olympic Committee, have initiated a move to put some money for the elite athletes. At the moment, we are hoping and praying that it will come to us," he said during the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

Recent developments, especially the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, have affected the PSC's funds for the national athletes and coaches.

Due to the pandemic, the PSC has already shelled out almost what is left of its National Sports Development Fund coming from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).

The PSC also had to realign some of its budget in the fight against Covid-19, forcing the cancellation of some of its scheduled events this year.

Ramirez said the recently exposed payroll-padding scheme of Paul Ignacio has also prompted the PSC to temporarily halt the release of allowances.

The PSC has since made changes to its management to prevent another padding from happening.

Senate Committee on Sports chairman Christopher Lawrence Go also called for the immediate release of the athletes' allowances.

According to Ramirez, the PSC has now begun handing out allowances again, although in a reduced manner due to the pandemic.

"We are committed that once we have the money from Pagcor or the general appropriation, ibabalik namin yung normal allowances na tinatanggap nila (we will bring back the normal allowances that they receive)." (PNA)