Senator Manny Pacquiao said it is time to pass a bill that will restructure the flow of fund from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to the different national sports associations (NSAs) without any interference from the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
“I think it is time to pass a bill that will direct NSAs to get direct financial aid from the PSC,” the 37-year-old World Boxing Organization welterweight champion told The Manila Times after the hearing.
Pacquiao, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, presided on Tuesday the hearing addressing the problems of Philippine sports together with fellow senators Sonny Angara, Tito Sotto, Joel Villanueva and Antonio Trillanes.
“The POC will not give direct financial request to the PSC anymore. Only the National Sports Associations should be allowed to,” said Pacquiao during the hearing attended by some sports officials and personalities, among them former Senator Nikki Coseteng, Ed Picson of boxing, former Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association president Go Teng Kok, Roger Malilim of bowling, Steve Hontiveros of bowling as well as bowlers Paeng Nepomuceno and Bong Coo. The current PSC Chairman William Butch Ramirez was also present.
But the POC said that it is not requesting money from the PSC except early this year because of the Rio Olympics last August.
“It just happened that NSAs couldn’t get budget from the POC because the commissioners of the PSC were not appointed yet by President (Rodrigo) Duterte. That’s why the POC was the one that released money to the NSAs before the Olympics,” POC President Jose Cojuangco Jr. told The Times.
“The PSC is only paying us for the advance budget we released. Requesting money from the PSC is not a normal practice and the senators should know it. I have no idea about the figures but its on millions of course,” he added.
The POC also denied that it interfered with the affairs of the PSC and the NSAs during the time of former PSC Chairman Richie Garcia.
Pacquiao also said favoritism in Philippine sports should be erased. “I was a victim of favoritism when I was trying out for ABAP (Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines). I didn’t make it that’s why I immediately went professional and that’s fine,” he said.
“I’m encouraging the PSC to hold a tournament for all sports that will discover the best of the best athletes from all over the country. I think if we have a tournament like that we’re going to avoid favoritism,” said Pacquiao.
“In swimming, we have a lot of good swimmers. We have to avoid favoritism,” he added. “In boxing, we have few training venues and if it’s possible I can teach our young boxers too.”