by JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA REPORTER
THE Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on Thursday failed to persuade the Senate to approve its proposed 2015 budget because of numerous issues facing the commission that require explanation.
It was Sen. Pia Cayetano who moved that the consideration of the budget of the PSC be suspended until officials of the commission explain in detail the issues being raised by various athlete groups.
“I will suggest that we suspend interpellation to give them [PSC] time to put together their data and submit [them] to us,” Cayetano said.
The Philippine Swimming League (PSL) headed by its president Susan Papa appealed to the senators to temporarily suspend the budget proceedings. The PSL has its own successful grassroots development program, the longest running for swimming in the country. Former senator Nikki Coseteng is the group’s honorary chairman.
Papa, in an interview, said training and development of athletes in swimming and other sports suffered because of the PSC’s failure to follow its mandate. The PSC is supposed to have overall say on the sport programs of the government.
But, according to the PSL chairman, PSC officials allowed the commission to be under the command of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the dictates of National Sports Associations (NSAs).
POC is a private, non-government organization composed of all NSAs in the Philippines.
“PSC is a government body [so] how can the POC have control over it? If this kind of situation will continue, our sports development will continue to suffer,” Papa said in an interview with The Manila Times.
She added that the decision of the Senate to defer the approval of the PSC budget is a welcome development because the commission would be forced to provide the chamber a detailed explanation on issues that have been affecting the country’s sports development.
“I’m very happy that the Senate temporarily suspended deliberations on the PSC budget. We will fight for it and we will closely monitor their [PSC] actions. We will no longer tolerate what they are doing and we are no longer scared also,” Papa said.
Among the issues Cayetano wants the PSC to explain include the manner the PSC allocates monetary support given to the NSAs, athletes groups and individual athletes, as well as its method in selecting the sport it is funding.
“We need to know how much is given per NSA and if there are separate fundings given to groups that are not NSAs. We’d like to have a complete list of these and individual athletes,” she said.
The senator noted that she wants a detailed explanation from the PSC because of numerous complaints she received that the commission has made life difficult for the athletes and other groups.