MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) announced Thursday that in the first six months of 2020, the agency has released more than P351 million to support the country's bets for next year's Tokyo Olympics.
This, even after the agency's budget was decreased exponentially. The Bayanihan Act I took P596 million and P773 million from the PSC's National Sports Development Fund and funds from the General Appropriations Act, respectively.
"It has been quite a challenge, but we hope to keep our commitment to fund and support our athletes who have shown strong determination and chances in winning our first Olympic gold," PSC chairman William "Butch" Ramirez said in a statement.
According to the PSC's records, the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) got the biggest support from the agency, with over P20.2 million.
The Associations of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) received P13 million, and Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) got P7.8 million.
All three national sports associations (NSAs) have athletes who are already qualified to next year's Games: pole vaulter EJ Obiena, boxers Irish Magno and Eumir Marcial, and gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo.
Yulo, who lives and trains in Japan, is backed with more than P3.8 million for the first half of 2020 to cover his living expenses, gymnastics training, and other miscellaneous expenditures.
The Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas received P11.2 million, P3.8 million of which was to support the preparation of Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz.
Diaz, who is close to qualifying for the Tokyo Games, has received the greatest support from the PSC for the period of January to June 2020, to back her bid for the country's first-ever Olympic gold medal.
The PSC funding covered Diaz's entire training camp in Malaysia for meals and allowances, including the budget for her foreign coach Kaiwen Go, and her core team composed of a sports science personnel, strength and conditioning coach, sports nutritionist, and a physical therapist.
Obiena, meanwhile, is supported with almost P1.3 million for the first half of 2020. Last year, the PSC gave a total of almost P12.5 million to Obiena, who is based in Italy where he is preparing for the Games.
Olympic-bound boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno along with 2019 AIBA World Boxing Champion Nesthy Petecio, Riza Pasuit, Carlo Paalam, James Palicte and Ian Clark Bautista received a cumulative amount of P5.3 million in 2019 which bore fruit in last year's Southeast Asian Games with a total of seven gold, three silver, and two bronze medals.
The PSC also allocated a P1.7 million budget for the national pugilists from January to June 2020.
"We are doing what we can for our national athletes. We want them to stay focused on their goals and to stay positive while aspiring for Olympic glory. We want to remind them that PSC is always here to help them achieve success in any way that is possible," Ramirez said.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).