Cordillera athletes finally get delayed stipends


National athletes here are more than happy to receive their delayed allowance from the Philippine Sports Commission even if it is only half of what they used to get monthly due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“I’ve got mine today,” said a jubilant arnisador Eza Rai Yalong as she got her monthly stipend for this month Wednesday, 16 days later than she usually does. Athletes get their monthly stipend every 10th of the month, but they were able to get their July allowance midway this month as the PSC underwent some major revamp after it discovered that an employee was siphoning allowances intended for their athletes, some of them have retired even a decade ago.

“We need this, especially that the classes have started anew,” said the 19-year old Southeast Asian gold medalist, who is taking up tourism at the University of Baguio. “We were told that we will get twice this month after the PSC did not give our July allowance,” said Yalong, who added that PSC did not give any reason for the delay.

Yalong expressed optimism also that they will get their full allowance once everything normalize, thanks to the pandemic that stopped all business operations including lotto and all Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office games which stopped in return support to the PSC. Lotto operations resumed last month. Also, the bulk of the PSC budget was returned to the national government for its Covid response program.

Last month, national athletes here expressed disappointment when they failed to get their allowance as they were having their enrollment. “Baka matigil ako, delayed na nga,” said Yalong, who said that many of her fellow athletes depend on their monthly allowance for their subsistence including schooling, although they get discounts as athletes.

“Pandemic pa man din at hirap gumalaw at kumuha ng trabaho,” said veteran wushu taolu player Daniel Parantac.

Pigeon Lobien/ABN