Butch to athletes: You're safe

August 18, 2020
William ‘Butch’ Ramirez
RAMIREZ: Athletes will be on top of the list.

Five months into the deadly pandemic, the Philippine Sports Commission is carrying out its day-to-day operations with a meager budget and nothing much to spare.

The PSC under chairman William 'Butch' Ramirez has implemented belt-tightening measures, including a 50 percent “equity reduction” on the allowances of the national athletes and coaches.

But despite the financial difficulties, Ramirez yesterday said the athletes and coaches will continue to receive their allowances, and can expect to get their regular allowances once the situation improves or when PAGCOR resumes its monthly remittances of close to P100 million to the PSC.

Ramirez also told yesterday’s online version of the PSA Forum that no one will lose his or her job in the government sports agency under these very difficult times.

“Even before COVID, we have communicated with Malacanang that we will let go of some contractual employees,” said Ramirez, adding that it would have taken effect on Aug. 31.

But the global pandemic has made the PSC change its mind.

“We in the PSC board made a collective decision that it will not happen. We will not remove anyone from the PSC unless there is cause. We are in very difficult times,” said Ramirez.

The 70-year-old educator from Davao City is concerned about the welfare of the 250 regular employees and more than 250 contractuals.

“Sa kahirapan ngayon, ano ang kakainin nila?” said Ramirez, currently staying with his wife at the athletes’ quarters at the PhilSports Complex (formerly ULTRA) in Pasig City.

Ramirez said the government sports agency is thinking beyond sports, and talked about “fortitude and sacrifice" during the forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, Milo, PAGCOR, Amelie Hotel and Braska Restaurant.

At the height of the lockdown, the national government channeled P1 billion of PSC money for COVID-19 purposes. The PSC has also allowed the use of its facilities like the Rizal Coliseum and Ninoy Aquino Stadium in the fight against the deadly virus.

The PSC has also donated 350 beds and close to 500 laptops that were used during last year’s SEA Games to various government offices during the pandemic.

“The PSC is not only focused on sports now. We are adapting to the environment,” said Ramirez.