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Poor SEA Games finish reflects Philippines' meagre sports budget
Publication Date : 01-01-2014
Thailand had a “war chest” equivalent to 13 billion pesos (US$292 million), tiny Singapore worked on a 6.5-billion-peso ($146 million) budget and both Indonesia and Malaysia set aside at least 4 billion pesos ($90 million) each for sports last year.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why these countries performed a lot better than the Philippines at the recent Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar, according to the chair of the Philippine Sports Commission.
In contrast, the Philippines spent about 750 million pesos ($17 million) last year for sports.
“Our budget is way, way lower than those of the other (SEA Games) countries,” lamented PSC chair Richie Garcia. “These figures alone will tell you that we’re no match for them.”
The result of this yawning gap was the country’s worst-ever seventh-place finish in the Myanmar SEA Games that was topped by Thailand for the 11th time.
Thailand netted 107 gold, 94 silver and 81 bronze medals while Myanmar tallied 86-62-85 for second overall followed by Vietnam (73-86-86), Indonesia (65-84-111), Malaysia (43-38-77) and Singapore (34-29-45).
“We have several programs that need funding,” said Garcia. “How can we implement these programs without money?”
From its P750-million budget last year, the PSC got about P200 million from the General Appropriations Act. The rest came from the agency’s mandated share in the earnings of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
About P200 million is used to operate PSC offices and sporting venues.
A source told the Inquirer that the PSC spends about P8 million a month in utilities alone at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila, Philsports in Pasig City and the training center in Baguio.
The Pagcor share goes to the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF), which bankrolls the participation of the athletes in the SEA Games, Asian Games and the Olympics.