The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) assured on Wednesday they are always ready to help the Philippines’ lone Winter Olympic bet Michael Christian Martinez.
POC First Vice President Joey Romasanta said the POC had already provided the 17-year-old Martinez a scholarship grant after qualifying to the Sochi Russia Winter Olympics last year and requested the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to provide him with incentives.
“We did our job already but the POC will always open in supporting his campaign in the future. We’re not going to stop in finding ways to help our Filipino athletes,” Romasanta, the Philippine Karatedo Federation president, told The Manila Times in an interview.
The POC gave Martinez $6,000 – a subsidy from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – and he received another $6,000 from the POC upon his return to the country after placing 19th overall against the world’s best figure skaters.
On the request of the POC headed by President Jose Cojuangco Jr., PSC Chairman Richie Garcia issued a check worth more than $7,000 (P300,000) to Martinez last year.
PSC Executive Director Guillermo Iroy said the agency is willing to support Martinez financially if ever his national sport association – the Philippine Skating Union (PSU) – will make another request.
“That’s the procedure since Martinez is under a national sport association recognized by the POC,” said Iroy. “They should write us formally, but so far we haven’t received any request yet. The PSC is open to support any athletes who will represent the country anytime and make the nation proud.”
Romasanta admitted Martinez is not the only athlete needing financial support “but of course we’re not closing our door in his future campaign.”
Romasanta said the PSU is the one that oversees Martinez’s career as a national athlete and the one that makes financial requests to the PSC.
Private groups like the SM Prime Holdings of Henry Sy and the Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) Sports Foundation have already donated financial supports to Martinez.
JOSEF T. RAMOS