Govt urges private sector to help athletes like Martinez

Posted at 02/16/2014 3:55 PM | Updated as of 02/16/2014 3:55 PM
Michael Christian Martinez

MANILA -- Malacanang is urging the private sector to help finance Filipino athletes given the government's limited resources.

In an interview with radio dzRB, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said it will be up to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) if a bonus will be given to the lone Filipino bet in the Sochi Winter Olympics, figure skater Michael Martinez.

“Ang tinitiyak ko lang po ay kinikilala natin ang mahusay na performance ni Michael Martinez, at nakikiisa tayo sa ating mga kababayan, at tiyak na makatatanggap siya ng mainit na welcome at pagkilala sa kanyang pagbabalik (We can only assure there will be a hero’s welcome for Martinez when he comes home),” he said.

Coloma said it is the PSC, which has been created after sports was carved out of the former Department of Education, Culture and Sports, will decide on which sport will be given focus when it comes to financing.

“Ang pananaw ng Pangulo ay mag-focus sa mga sports na mayroong competitive advantage ang Pilipino, ‘yung pwede tayo talagang makipaglaban sa medalya at makapagdulot ng karangalan. Sa kanyang palagay ‘yan ang dapat bigyan ng dagdag na resources (The President ordered the PSC to focus on different sports where Filipinos will have competitive advantage),” he said, citing for example, billiards and boxing.

Coloma said the country’s funds are tied to projects that help Filipinos rise from poverty and this is why the private sector’s help is needed in other sports.

“Doon naman sa mga ibang larangan ay pwede rin namang himukin ang private sector na patuloy na sumuporta dito. So tulong-tulong lang po ang nakikita nating solusyon. Kung pagtutulungan po ng sambayanan, magbibigay tayo ng suporta sa mga mahuhusay na atleta katulad ni Michael Martinez at iba pa, ay sigurado naman pong makakamit natin ‘yung mga layunin natin sa larangang ‘yan (We can encourage the private sector to help in financing our other athletes. We need to help each other to boost the chances of athletes like Michael Martinez),” Coloma said.

Coloma said the private sector has not been wanting in these fields and has, in fact, volunteered to help in sports development without any prodding from the government.

Martinez stands to receive a $10,000 bonus from the MVP Sports Foundation of businessman Manny Pangilinan after his historic performance at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.