Ricky Vargas denies PSC threat to withhold Asian Games fund

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas clarified that the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has already given the P72-million budget for the 2018 Asian Games to chef de mission Richard Gomez.

This invalidated the claim that PSC tried to withhold the fund unless POC's unliquidated funds have been settled. 

"Di naman totoo yun. Narinig mo naman yung sinabi ni Gomez that he has gotten [the] P72 million funding for the Asian Games," said Vargas during the POC general assembly on Wednesday, July 4.

(That's not true [PSC's threat to withhold the fund]. You heard what Gomez said that the has gotten the P72-million funding for the Asian Games.) 

Commissioner Ramon Fernandez has also confirmed to Rappler that the funds are already with Gomez. 

The PSC and the POC have been at loggerheads on the P10.3 million funds that PSC claims the POC – then under former peresident Peping Cojuangco – has not liquidated. The amount was supposedly used to pay the supplier of the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games uniforms. 

According to Daily Tribune, Fernandez said last June 19, that the POC needs to return the P10-million amount to PSC before the government can release the approved P72-million fund for the Asian Games. 

However, Vargas voiced out his side that the POC tried to return the amount, but the government refused to accept it. POC will put the fund instead in the custody of a 3rd party for parity purposes. 

"The money is with us, it’s not lost, we’re returning it to them and they don’t want to accept it. There’s nothing unliquidated so we’re returning this money and they don’t want to accept it, so since they don’t want to accept it, we’ll put it in escrow," explained Vargas. 

Gomez confirmed that the POC will be sending out a total of 272 athletes – 153 male and 119 female – to Jakarta for the Asian Games. 

Vargas is confident that P72 million will be enough to fund the Philippine delegation. The POC has also solicited a total of P76 million from the private sector, which can be used only as needed.

"We will live with the P72 million whether it’s enough or not enough. We’ll find out but we’ll live with what we’re given," said Vargas.

"We have solicited an amount of P76 million already from the private sector, so on hand is the P26 million of the P76 million for athlete training, athlete development, for the Southeast Asian Games and the Olympics." – Rappler.com

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.

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