Cabinet Secretary Carlo Nograles (File photo)

MANILA – After the Philippines achieved its best Olympics performance after clinching four medals in Tokyo, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Tuesday said it is “incumbent” for the next administration to continue investing in the country’s athletes.

Nograles said allocating a bigger budget for sports should be a no-brainer, especially since Filipino athletes have proven that they are “at par” with other countries.

“We can really get the medals--gold, silver, bronzer, pero kailangan talaga ng suporta (but there should really be support). So yes, it's true under the term of President Duterte, tumaas talaga yung (the government increased) financial support in sports,” he said during a virtual Anvil Business Club forum.

He said it was “deliberate” on the part of the Duterte administration to increase funding for sports knowing national athletes’ huge potential to excel in their respective fields.

“It was really deliberate on the part of the administration to increase funding support for sports because we’ve proven na may potential talaga tayo (that we really have potential) to get the gold. I think because of this experience, it will now be incumbent on the next administration to do the same,” he added.

Nograles also expressed optimism over “institutional changes” following the signing of Republic Act No. 11470 which establishes the National Academy of Sports (NAS) at the New Clark City in Tarlac.

Under the law, the NAS would offer a secondary education program integrated with a specific curriculum on sports to develop better athletes.

RA 11470 also grants full scholarships to qualified student-athletes.

“Nag invest tayo dito, may returns talaga. Hindi masasayang ang investment natin sa sports (We invested in sports so there will be returns. Our investment in sports will not go to waste),” he said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the Duterte administration was significantly invested more in sports compared to the previous government.

During the Duterte administration’s first full year in 2017, he said the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) received a budget of PHP223,547,000, “nearly double” the PHP168,675,000 given by the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III during his first full year in 2011.

He said the PSC received PHP1.3 billion from the Duterte administration this year—his fifth year in office while PHP186,924,000 was given to the PSC during Aquino’s last full year in office in 2015.

The Philippines brought home four medals from Tokyo—one gold, two silvers, and one bronze—its biggest haul in history.

Hidilyn Diaz won it all in a women's weightlifting event, while the boxing team amassed the bulk of the medals, two silvers from Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio, and a bronze from Eumir Marcial. (PNA)