P1-B FOR ATHLETES

Butch answers karateka’s rant over cauldron, athletes’ support

PSC Chairman William Ramirez answers questions from reporters on Wednesday in Davao City. Armando Fenequito Jr.

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez has responded to rants of 2005 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games karatedo gold medalist Gretchen Malalad posted in Twitter saying that the government is more keen on spending a multi-million peso cauldron than allocating funds for athletes.

Ramirez, who was in town on Wednesday, said the government has already spent more than P1 billion for the international exposure and training of athletes.

“I respect Gretchen Malalad, she is a friend. The Philippine Sports Commission is targeting SEA Games up to Olympics and we already spent more than P1 billion for the athletes,” he said.

The country’s sports czar revealed that aside from the international trainings and exposures, the government also spent P200 billion for equipment and repairs and rehabilitation of all existing sports facilities.

He added that the meal allowance of every athlete has also increased to P25,000 from P5,000 from the past administration.

“Record will show that the Philippine Sports Commission spent more for the athletes,” he said.

“I think her question is about cauldron and not about the athletes,” Ramirez stressed.

However, Ramirez opted not to comment on the issue on the P50 million worth of SEA Game Cauldron since the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) has the jurisdiction over the said structure.

But chairman disclosed that the commission released the particular amount upon the request of PHISGOC as the duty of the commission is to fund the committee. However, if there was an excessive spending on the construction of the controversial cauldron, it is the responsibility of PHISGOC to liquidate it to the Commission on Audit (COA) a month after.

Ramirez, meanwhile, said the Senate hearing served as a vindication for PSC as they were able to clear their side on the cauldron issue.