Manila, July 1, 2003 By Abac Cordero (Star) Mikeís P10-M to go to PSC coffers. Itís theirs, says POC Chief.

After First Gentleman Mike Arroyo pledged P10 million for the countryís stint in this yearís Vietnam SEA Games, Philippine Olympic Committee president Celso Dayrit yesterday said he wouldnít mind if the money goes straight to the Philippine Sports Commission for as long as it would benefit the national athletes.

"I donít want to handle it," said Dayrit of the huge financial assistance promised to him by the First Gentleman during the Olympic Day Run, an annual event that was also graced by President Arroyo last Sunday at the Baywalk Park along Roxas Boulvevard.

Dayrit had already expressed his full gratitude to the First Couple and hoped that their kind gesture would encourage more people, particularly those from the private sector, to support the countryís bid in the biennial event to be held Dec. 5 to 14 in the former French-Indo-China colony.

"I donít think they (donors) will give the money to the POC although the PSC will now have to consult with me on how this could be utilized," said the POC chief.

Dayritís reaction came after questions were raised yesterday on where the P10 million should go. But if it would come from the national government, then it should land with the PSC, a government agency which is tasked to fund the national athletes under the different sports associations.

"We deeply appreciate the support that the First Gentleman has committed for our athletes gearing up for the SEA Games. This will certainly help boost the countryís bid in the SEAG," was PSC chair Eric Buhainís statement released yesterday.

"As far as the PSC is concerned, the First Gentlemanís concern and support will help boost the countryís bid and weíre deeply greatful," the statement added.

The First Gentlemanís offer was a big shot in the arm as far as the preparations for the Vietnam SEAG is concerned since the PSC is currenly working on a very limited budget. This is the main reason why Buhain has been batting for a smaller delegation to Vietnam.

But President Arroyo has come to the rescue, throwing her full support to the sending of more athletes to the event where the Philippines is hoping to win 60 gold medals or third place overall.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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