The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) reiterated before House members Wednesday its intention to support teenage tennis phenom Alex Eala, but at the same time said that their capacity to help has a limit.
“The (PSC) is committed to support Ms. Eala. In fact they already provided P3 million for travels and will continue to support (her),” Surigao del Norte 1st district Rep. Bingo Matugas said as he defended the agency’s proposed budget for 2021 in the plenary.
“But of course there’s a limit to the funds they can commit to her since we are preparing for the Olympic Games,” added Appropriations Committee Vice-Chairman Matugas, who was being fed answers by PSC officials. This is par for the course during plenary deliberations on the proposed budget bill.
The next summer Olympics was supposed to take place in Japan this year, but it was pushed back to July 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Mindanao congressman noted that no funds for the preparation of the Olympics next year had been allocated in 2021 National Expenditure Program (NEP), which was the basis for House Bill No. 7727.
At any rate, Matugas said the Commission “is committing to provide additional support” to Eala, but did not specify.
Interpellating the PSC budget at that time was Valenzuela City 2nd district Rep. Eric Martinez, who until last week was the House Committee on Youth and Sports chairman.
Martinez couldn’t help but raise the controversy involving the Filipino tennis sensation and the PSC on the subject of the agency’s prior announcement of assistance to the Eala family.
“Was it a miscommunication on the part of PSC or the Eala family? Past issues have been brought up also when it comes to support for athletes and coaches. I think the PSC should have a better role and picture on this so these things wouldn’t happen,” Martinez said.
Over the weekend, the Commission claimed that it had given already Eala P3 million as funds for her training and tournaments abroad. Her parents subsequently said the PSC had promised financial support, but clarified that they “haven’t received any amount yet.”
The PSC said afterward that the assistance was still being processed.
The 15-year-old Eala is coming off a semifinal finish at the French Open Juniors, the first Filipino to do so after Felix Barrientos in 1985.
A scholar of the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, Spain, Eala also won the Australian Open girls doubles titles last January.