PHILIPPINE Sports Commission chairman Ritchie Garcia believes the government sports agency has done a lot in improving the plight of Filipino athletes under his administration.
In the face of an eventual leadership change in the PSC under incoming President Rodrigo Duterte, Garcia emphasized the improvements that happened in his six years as chairman for the benefit of the country's athletes.
“I would say that we have accomplished a lot,” Garcia told reporters on Tuesday during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum
“Most or, if not, all our focus in PSC are the athletes. They are the number one priority and I don’t think the athletes never had it so good now that they are very supported, and we get them the equipment they need,” he added.
Garcia cited an increase in the monthly allowances of athletes during his term—from P7,500 to as much as P40,000 plus an additional P40,000 for training. The PSC chairman also said more athletes are now being given allowances under his administration, while adding that at least 300 coaches, in both national and regional levels, have received stipends each month under his watch.
Athletes who bring home medals from international competitions, including diferrently-abled national bets, now enjoy higher incentives, according to Garcia. He also shared that national sports associations are provided better funding to use for training and international competitions.
“Each NSAs are now given a budget. They are asked to prepare a budget, we conduct a meeting, and in that meeting, we argue and discuss. Once it is approved, you have a budget. You just keep on drawing from the approved budget,” said Garcia.
So far, a lot of names have been reported as the next chairman of the PSC, including PBA great Ramon Fernandez, former Senator Nikki Coseteng, University of Mindanao athletic director Joaquin Sarabia, current PSC executive director Guillermo Iroy, while Garcia still remains in the mix as well.