Duterte admin investment in sports bore fruit: Palace

WORLD CLASS. Top view of the new world-class sports complex at the New Clark City in Tarlac built under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. The sport complex has a 20,000-seater Athletics Stadium, a 2,000-seater Aquatics Center, and an Athletes’ Village. (Photo courtesy of BCDA)

MANILA – The Duterte administration invested significantly more in sports than the previous governments which has made the Philippines achieved its best Olympics haul since its first participation in 1924, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque explained that in the first full year of the Duterte administration in 2017, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) received a budget of PHP223,547,000.

He said this figure is “nearly double” the PHP168,675,000 given by the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III to the PSC during its first full year in 2011.

Roque said the PSC received PHP1.3 billion from the Duterte administration this year—his fifth year in office while PHP186,924,000 was given to the PSC during Aquino’s last full year in office in 2015.

“So nakikita niyo na po, ah. Mayroon talagang direct correlation doon sa halaga na iniinvest natin sa sports at yung mga nagiging performance ng ating mga atleta (You can see it. There really is a direct correlation on the amount invested in sports to the performance of our national athletes)” he said in a Palace press briefing.

He said the Duterte administration also spent PHP9.5 billion to construct a world-class sports complex at New Clark City.

The complex, which was built to serve as the showpiece of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in December 2019, includes a 20,000-seat Athletics Stadium with an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)-certified track; a 2,000-seat International Swimming Federation (FINA)-certified Aquatics Center, and an Athletes’ Village.

“Ito po’y talagang mahalagang investments hindi lang po sa imprastraktura kung hindi ito’y investment sa ating tinatawag na human capital—ang ating mga atleta (This is an important investment, not just in infrastructure, but an investment in what we call human capital—our athletes),” he added.

On Monday, Roque said it is “no coincidence” that the Philippines achieved its best Olympics campaign during the Duterte administration.

“The figures will bear me out pero talaga naman pong nagtanim at nag-invest ang ating Pangulo sa ating mga atleta. Sa kauna-unahang panahon po, record po ang suportang pinansyal na binigay natin sa ating mga atleta at nakita naman po natin ang naging prutas ng ganyang investment (The figures will bear me out but the President really invested in our athletes. For the first time, we gave record financial assistance to our athletes and we can now see the fruits of this investment),” he said.

Officials allowed to meet athletes

Meanwhile, Roque also dismissed criticism against some government officials who welcomed the Philippine boxing team following their arrival in the Philippines, fresh from winning medals in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, among others, were seen greeting the Filipino Olympic boxers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 before the athletes had a chance to undergo the mandatory quarantine.

“Siguro, exceptional naman iyon. Alam natin kung ano ang protocol, 10 days iyan kung hindi sila nagsumite ng kanilang proof of vaccination bago sila umalis ng Pilipinas, seven days quarantine kung nagpakita po sila ng kanilang vaccination certificate (That’s an exception. We know the protocol, 10 days if they did not submit proof of vaccination before leaving the Philippines, seven days quarantine if they present their vaccination certificates), he said.

He said that greeting the national boxing team was an “exception” because the athletes deserved to have a “hero’s welcome”.

Roque said quarantine protocols currently remain unchanged.

“If at all ang mga nagbuwis ng buhay po ay iyong mga sumalubong, kasama na po diyan si Executive Secretary Medialdea at saka si Senator Bong Go (If at all, the only ones who risked their lives were those who welcomed the athletes, including Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Senator Bong Go),” he added.

Filipino Olympic medalists Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Eumir Marcial are currently undergoing their mandatory quarantine at the Summit Ridge Hotel in Tagaytay City.

Petecio and Paalam clinched silver medals in women’s featherweight and men’s flyweight, respectively, while Marcial took home a bronze in the middleweight division.

For the first time since it joined the Olympic Games in 1924, the Philippines brought home its first-ever Olympic gold medal won by weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz in a record-breaking lift. (PNA)

Credit belongs to : www.pna.gov.ph

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