PSC Commissioner Celia Kiram with PSC Dep. Exec. Director Rachel Dumuk face the press to discuss NSA budgets, national team allowances and Batang Pinoy Oroquieta.

Officials and athletes representing 52 national sports associations attended the dialogue set by the Philippine Sports Commission yesterday, to discuss budget allocations for each association, as well as changes in the allowance policy for athletes and coaches.

Speaking on behalf of the PSC board, Commissioner Celia Kiram said that “the board is listening.  While we deemed the changes reasonable we also know that we need to get the input of the other side.”

PSC Acting Deputy Executive Director for COSECSS, Rachel Dumuk also explained that the changes that were made were studied, adding that in the research they did they found that our rates were at par, and at times, even higher than the rates set by Malaysia.  “The rates set by the board were actually generous.  We have to keep in mind that we are working on a limited budget which has to be spread out to 54 NSAs and over 1000 athletes and coaches.”

There will no longer be a priority athletes program.  The highest classification will now be “platinum” covering Olympic and World medalists.  This classification is the elite of the elite with only eight national athletes qualifying, headed by Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz.  They will receive P45,000 per month for one Olympic cycle.

There are five other classifications after this, namely the Class A athletes (World silver & bronze and Asian gold medalists, Class B (Asian silver & bronze and SEAG gold medalists), Class C (SEAG silver & bronze and SEA Championship and Cup medalists), training pool B (former medalists), and training pool A (new athletes, non-medalists).

Dumuk mentioned that the PSC board has earmarked P600 Million for the 2018 funds of NSAs.  “They will manage their budget and prioritize their activities and expenses.”

Kiram also briefed the media about preparations for the Batang Pinoy Mindanao Leg in Oroquieta which, after two cancellations last year, will finally push through this month from March 6 to 12.  “The Batang Pinoy is their first big sporting event, so Oroquieta is very excited to welcome us there.  Their preparation is very thorough, especially with security,” said Kiram, who is also the oversight commissioner for the said event.

Almost 4000 participants are expected to join the Mindanao leg of Batang Pinoy to vie for medals in 18 sports.