MANILA, JUNE 10, 2008
(MALAYA) THE Philippine Sports Commission has sent a distress call to Malacanang, with Chairman William Ramirez seeking the help of President Arroyo to reinstate the agency’s five percent share from the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp. to enable the agency to pursue its programs, including the country’s quest for a gold medal in next year’s Beijing Olympics.

Ramirez’s plea for help was contained in a letter sent to President Arroyo before the Chief Executive left for an official trip to China.

"It’s some kind of an SOS," Ramirez said. "We have been trying our best to put together a decent training program for the athletes, especially since the Olympics are just a short distance away. Unfortunately, we cannot fund everything in our programs, even if we get the full share we are guaranteed by law from Pagcor. But getting five percent from Pagcor will somehow give us a big relief."

Under the law that created the PSC, the agency is entitled to five percent of Pagcor’s gross earnings estimated at a minimum of P50 million. The amount being remitted by Pagcor to the PSC has been cut in half since about 10 years ago, leaving the PSC struggling to meet its mandate of funding the training of the country’s elite athletes and its grassroots program.

In the same letter, Ramirez said he is ready to "welcome possible changes in the PSC" if the agency is left scrounging for money.

The PSC also gets funding from government profits from horseracing and importation of sports equipment but a knowledgeable source claimed the agency is not receiving the full amounts it is supposed to get from these sources.

"The chairman is after this money because he feels they will help ease the expenses that burden the PSC," the source said.

Some of the biggest concerns for the PSC are the country’s bid for an Olympic gold medal and the Southeast Asian Games participation later this year.

Some 53 athletes are training for the Beijing Games next year and although the First Gentleman’s Foundation of Jose Miguel Arroyo had vowed to help raise funds for 31 athletes, the PSC will still have to spend money on other expenses.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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