The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has reiterated its call to the different National Sports Associations (NSAs) to look for other ways and means as they prepare for the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi in November.
Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, who is chef-de-mission of the large Philippine contingent to Hanoi, said the sports agency already has in its hands the proposed training budget of the NSAs vying in 39 of 40 sports in this year’s SEA Games.
“I almost fell off my seat,” said Fernandez upon seeing the amount of P184 million, which only covers 28 NSAs.
The Philippines won the overall title as SEA Games host in 2019. It looks to field 626 athletes to Hanoi in its bid for a strong podium finish despite the pandemic.
“Twenty-eight NSAs submitted their budget for bubble training and it already amounted to P184 million. The PSC only has a budget of two-hundred million for the SEA Games,” Fernandez said during the forum presented by San Miguel Corporation (SMC), MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
“The PSC cannot finance all this. One NSA asked for five million and we have thirty-nine NSAs. Baka mag-bangka tayo going to Vietnam. We need the NSAs to step up also and look for LGUs (godfathers) to help them with facilities, billeting, and food.
“Some have done while the others are looking. Less than 20 NSAs pa lang ang nakakahanap ng host LGUs. The PSC cannot handle all the financial requirements during the pandemic,” the former basketball superstar said in the Smart-powered session, with Upstream Media as official webcast partner.
So far, LGUs from Ormoc (fencing and modern pentathlon), Dumaguete (archery), Zamboanga (weightlifting), Baguio (muay), Benguet (kickboxing), Taguig (table tennis), Ilocos Norte (volleyball), and Tagaytay (cycling and chess) have heeded the call to help, as well as Bohol, Cebu, and Sta. Rosa in Laguna.
Fernandez said he will keep his fingers crossed that the Hanoi SEA Games pushes through as planned and as scheduled. He said the agency awaits the final word from the SEA Games Federation. There have been reports that the Vietnamese government is considering moving the event to July next year due to the pandemic.
“We will cross the bridge when we get there,” said Fernadez. He then added that so far, preparations for next month’s Tokyo Olympics are all in place.
“But just the same, we are ready.”