MANILA – Leyte Rep. Richard Gomez is pushing for an increase in the Philippine Sports Commission's (PSC) budget for 2024 to support Filipino athletes, enhance grassroots sports programs, and improve facilities.
During the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon public briefing, Gomez said the PSC reported getting zero allocation for its capital outlay in the proposed budget for next year.
"Without the budget for capital outlay, hindi nila mapapaayos iyong mga facilities nila (they can't fix their facilities). So that was what we are trying to do – we’re hoping that mapansin nila iyon, malagyan nila ng budget para pagdating ng bicam, mayroon nang capital outlay ang Philippine Sports Commission (we're hoping that they would notice that, increase the commission's budget so that during the bicam, the Philippine Sports Commission would have a capital outlay)," he said.
He noted that the PSC supports about 70 sports organizations in addition to its other mandate of ensuring grassroots development.
Gomez said the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) should give PSC its full 5 percent share of PAGCOR's gross income intended to fund the training and development of Filipino athletes who compete in international sports events, as mandated under Republic Act 6847.
"So, tama iyong sinabi ni Presidente na they should work together with PAGCOR. Dati iyong 5 percent gross ng PAGCOR, dumidiretso sa Philippine Sports Commission. Pero ngayon, 2.5 na lang (The President is right in saying that they should work together with PAGCOR. In the past, 5 percent of PAGCOR's gross income would directly be remitted to the Philippine Sports Commission. But now, they only receive 2.5 percent)," he said.
Gomez also highlighted a measure that aims to support young Filipino athletes by establishing a sports voucher system that they can use for their training or the purchase of sports equipment.
House of Representatives Bill 8495 titled “An Act Strengthening Local Sports Programs to Develop Young Athletes,” provides funds to sports clubs, organizations, or associations accredited or recognized by the PSC.
Under House Bill 8495, program funds are allotted for three main categories: Get Started Fund, Get Going Fund, and Get Playing Fund. All will be managed by the PSC.
The Get Started Funds provide young athletes, including those with disabilities, with an annual discount voucher worth PHP3,000 to “help pay for their membership, registration, participation, training, or general fees, including the purchase of sports equipment and uniforms.”
These vouchers, the measure said, “can be redeemed at any sports club, recreation club, sports association or organization that is duly accredited or recognized by the PSC and have facilities and activities which can provide the proper, well-equipped, safe, healthy, comfortable, and accessible venue and opportunities for training and competition.”
According to the measure, to avail of the sports voucher, the young athlete must be under the age of 18 and is actively engaged in any sports; a member of any local sports club, organization, or association; and a resident in the locality where the sports club, association, or organization is located.
Sports vouchers are not redeemable for cash, are non-transferable, and cannot be used once redeemed.
The Get Going Fund and the Get Playing Fund, meanwhile, provide annual funding support to accredited sports clubs, organizations, or associations in the amounts of PHP50,000 and PHP500,000, respectively.
The Get Going Fund is for the sustainability of existing projects and programs that promote grassroots sports development, while the Get Playing Fund is for the improvement of sports facilities to encourage more young athletes to become actively involved in the sports activity of their choice. (PNA)