By Jean Malanum
MANILA – Athletes preparing for the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games need not worry about their training after the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) received PHP256.38 million from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) on Thursday.
The amount represents Pagcor’s mandated contributions to the PSC for November (PHP124.45 million) and December (PHP131.93 million) last year.
Pagcor chair and CEO Alejandro Tengco personally handed the checks to newly appointed PSC Chairman Richard Bachmann at the Pagcor Executive Office in Manila.
“With the amount that we remitted, we hope to contribute significantly to the training of our national athletes for various international competitions and to the further development of Philippine sports. Our future remittances will be bigger as our operations are slowly easing back to normalcy,” Tengco said in a press release distributed to the media.
Bachmann was extremely grateful to Pagcor, saying, “This is definitely a big help to us as there are already a lot of requests coming from the NSAs (National Sports Associations) for equipment that they need for the training of their athletes for the coming SEA Games. We have no more funding problems when it comes to this.”
The Cambodia SEA Games will be held in Phnom Penh from May 5 to 17.
Pagcor had a significant role in the successful hosting of the 2019 SEA Games by donating PHP842.5 million for the renovation of the track and football field and indoor Ninoy Aquino Stadium, both inside the 85-year-old Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila, and the Multi-Purpose Arena at the Philsports Complex in Pasig City.
The agency also extended funding assistance to the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee.
Aside from the remittances, Pagcor also provides cash rewards to athletes and their coaches who win in major international sports competitions.
Under Republic Act 10699, otherwise known as the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act, the incentives shall come from Pagcor, chargeable against its National Sports Development Fund.
Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz received PHP15 million for winning the country’s first gold medal and setting a national record at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam got PHP5 million each for their silver medals while teammate Eumir Marcial was awarded PHP2 million for bagging the bronze medal.
Meanwhile, Team Philippines chef de mission to Cambodia Chito Loyzaga is looking at fielding 800 athletes and a total delegation of 1,200 – counting the coaches, and medical and administrative staff.
Loyzaga and deputy chefs de mission Paolo Tancontian, president of the sambo association, and Leonora Escollante, canoe-kayak head coach and international technical official, will be attending the first Chef de Mission Meeting scheduled on Jan. 24 -25 in Phnom Penh, the main hub of the SEA Games.
The tournament, to be hosted by Cambodia for the first time, features 608 events in 49 sports.
The 2019 Manila edition had 530 events in 56 sports while 526 events in 40 sports were programmed at the Vietnam Games last year. (PNA)