MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has left no stone unturned making sure that the national athletes will be ready to deliver when the country hosts the 30th SEA Games from November 30 to December 11.
"The heart and soul of this SEA Games are the athletes and we are taking care of them. We have not been remiss," said PSC chairman William "Butch" Ramirez in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Amelie Hotel Manila.
Ramirez also serves as chef-de-mission of Team Philippines. The country is eyeing to duplicate the "Miracle of 2005" when the country won the SEA Games overall title as host.
From a regular annual budget of P300 million, the PSC, following the directive from Malacanang, has spent thrice as much so far this year making sure the athletes are well-trained and highly motivated.
"We went beyond that (old budget). As of September this year, the PSC has spent P1 billion for our athletes," said Ramirez.
The bulk of the budget was spent on foreign exposure and equipment.
The PSC also increased the daily and meal allowances of the athletes (651 male and 462 female) and coaches (346), and worked on upgrading their living quarters and training facilities.
The Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, which was built in 1934, is undergoing a major facelift, and whether or not work is done for the coming SEA Games, the national athletes will benefit from this.
The Philsports Arena in Pasig and Teachers’ Camp in Baguio City, two other facilities that cater for the athletes, are also undergoing major repairs. Ramirez said the PSC could not have done it without the help of PAGCOR.
Ramirez believes that the foreign exposure will bring out the best from the Filipino athletes when the country hosts the SEA Games for the fourth time in history after 1981, 1991 and 2005.
"Because of that exposure, malakas ang loob ko (I am confident). We can deliver a surprise in the SEA Games," said Ramirez.
"And it’s very inspiring to see the results. We have found new heroes," added the PSC chief, referring to gymnast Caloy Yulo, female boxer Nesthy Petecio and pole vaulter EJ Obiena.
"With all our investment, I am confident that our athletes will deliver in this SEA Games," he said.
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