Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez is confident that the sport body’s P1-billion investment on the Filipino athletes will “bear fruit” soon.
Ramirez, who is busy touring the various venues being used for the 30th SEA Games to make sure everything is up and running, said the PSC is determined to help national athletes reach world-class standards in terms of performance in the international scene.
“We spent P1 billion for the training and exposure of our athlete_s abroad. Never in history of our country has government been this supportive of the Filipino athlete, financially. Ngayon lang nangyari ito sa pamunuan ng ating pangulong Rodrigo Duterte,” said Ramirez.
Most of the funding was spent on the athletes’ international training and exposure, equipment, foreign coaches, education and nutrition.
“We want them to be physically and mentally equipped when they represent the country in foreign competitions. Our support to them actually is not just geared for these SEA Games, but even beyond because we want to create a foundation in these games where we can build on our gains,” said Ramirez.
“I am confident that our P1-billion investment on our athletes will bear fruit,not only in the SEA Games but perhaps in the Tokyo Olympics and even the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, as well” Ramirez said.
The Philippines is hosting the 30th edition of the biennial meet. And although the lead agency tasked to organize the games is the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc), the PSC has been a valuable support agency to the Phisgoc, the Philippine Olympic Committee and the various national sports associations to ensure the country’s successful hosting of the games and the Filipino athletes’ rise to international standards.
“We want to make sure our investment in our athletes is taken care of with the smooth hosting of the games that is why we are extending our support to the organizing committee. Sila (athletes) naman ang bida rito,” said Ramirez.
The PSC is also tasked with the upkeep of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, the Philsports Arena, the Teacher’s Camp in Baguio and several other sports facilities in the countryside. The RMSC, for one, has been renovated to standards befitting its history, with the help of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
Grassroots sports is also an area where the PSC has been active as Ramirez reiterated his goal to continue the growth of the Philippine Sports Institute, the Batang Pinoy, the Philippine National Games and the Laro’t Saya sa Parke.
“We are just answering the mandate of our President, who wants to make sports accessible to all Filipinos,” said Ramirez.
The main SEA Games venues at the New Clark City and at the Clark Economic Zone were built and are being managed by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
Those at Subic are managed by the Subic Bay Management Authority (SBMA).
While the PSC provides funding to the athletes, their training and participation in events are handled by their respective NSAs, which are under the umbrella of the POC as non-government organizations.