THE Philippine Sports Commission has suspended the monthly allowance of chess Grandmaster Wesley So, who has declared that he is planning to switch federations and compete for the US.
PSC chairman Ritchie Garcia said the 20-year-old So’s P40,000 monthly allowance from the government is now on hold but he can collect back payment if he decides not to push through with his plan to give up his status as a chess player for the Philippines.
“Wala kaming official notice kung talaga bang lilipat siya ng federation,” said Garcia during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum. “Last week, we decided to hold (his allowance), meaning depending on his decision, we will act accordingly.”
“Kung talagang ayaw na niya, hinto na (ang monthly allowance). Pero kung sasabihin niya na lalaro pa siya sa Olympiad or whatever event, itutuloy namin ’yun. Pero for now, suspended muna. We are not saying na we will stop it. Suspended muna until he decides,” he added.
Garcia explained the PSC’s decision to withhold So’s allowance.
“Sa gobyerno kasi, we want make sure that government funds are not going to be just thrown away. Ayaw na niya, eh ’di hinto na namin. And I’m sure he knows that. He expected that also,” said Garcia.
Still, Garcia said he understands So’s decision.
“I wish him luck. It’s his decision if he wants to move on. Maybe it’s better for his career or personal glory. We are not taking it against him,” said Garcia.
The PSC chief said in his eyes, So will remain a Filipino even if he changes status and play for the United States.
“He is still a Filipino as far as I’m concerned. He can be an American or Canadian citizen pero Pilipino pa rin siya. We are happy that we have supported him in any capacity. I’m happy for what he contributed to chess in the Philippines. He started as a Filipino and he will end up as a Filipino pa rin,” said Garcia.