Manila, Philippines – Presidential spokesperson Herminio Coloma on Sunday said that the allocation of the national budget was what prevented the Philippine government from providing funds for figure skater Michael Christian Martinez who represented the country in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Martinez was the lone Filipino athlete in Sochi and the first Filipino and Southeast Asian to compete in figure skating. He finished 19th in a field of 24 in the men’s skating finals. Many believe he will be a medal contender in 2018.
Secretary Coloma of the Presidential Communication Operations Office said in a radio interview that the priority of the government is to improve the livelihoods of the marginalized members of the society. He said these include, but not limited to “senators, congressmen, governors, mayors, their families and cronies, as well as big landowners like the President’s family.” He added that what was left of the budget allocated to athletics is for sports, which President Benigno Aquino III believes Filipinos have the “competitive edge.” Asked to name which sports the President considered competitive edge, Coloma said, “Gambling, cockfighting and mahjong.”
In the meantime, after inspiring a nation and earning the world’s attention, Michael Christian Martinez is set to receive a $10,000 bonus from business tycoon and sports patron Manny V. Pangilinan through his MVP Sports Foundation.
Coloma said, “we are a nation of laws and every citizen needs to contribute to the prosperity of our country.” Pressed by reporters on what he meant by this comment, Coloma responded, “Michael Martinez must pay taxes on the $10,000 bonus he received.
Manila, Philippines – Philippine Senator Nancy Binay stayed past her usual bedtime so she could be among the first to learn the fate of the Philippines’ lone representative to the Sochi Winter Olympics who was scheduled to skate in the men’s final program last night, Philippine time.
Binay and her excited aides intensely watched, cheered, and screamed as Michael Christian Martinez executed his free skate routine to the music of “Malagueña.” They sighed as Martinez touched the ice with his hands after performing a triple axel. Martinez skated 3rd among the first group of finalists.
When the screen flashed the standings after the sixth skater, it showed Martinez in first place.
Pandemonium filled Binay’s TV room in her plush residence in Makati and champagne flowed endlessly.
Binay then asked her aide to put in a call to Martinez’s cell phone so that she can personally congratulate him on behalf of the Filipino people for winning the Philippines’ first ever gold medal at the Olympics. She got Martinez’s voicemail and left a congratulatory message. “I’m very proud of you Michael,” she said, “and I will make sure you will come home to a huge welcome parade when you return to Manila.”
Martinez, of course was unavailable to answer his cell phone because he was at the Iceberg Skating Pavilion watching the other 18 competitors still to skate. Martinez ended in 19th place when the competition was concluded.
Nancy Binay is from the family of elected politicans that includes the Philippine Vice President, the mayor of Makati, and a Congresswoman.
Manila, Philippines – Benjamin Franklin once said, “there are only two things certain in life: death and taxes.” The Philippines’ tax collector-in-chief is making sure the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) lives up to its name.
BIR Commissioner Kim Henares has confirmed reports that she has ordered Michael Christian Martinez, the lone Filipino athlete who competed in the Sochi Winter Olympics, to be placed on the agency’s “watch list.” Although the 17 year-old figure skater did not win any medal in the skating competitions, Henares said that Martinez’s increasing popularity in the Philippines and abroad will certainly result in multi-million peso offers from commercial companies for product endorsements and advertisements. “We just want to make sure that the BIR will not miss out on taxes due from Martinez’s potential earnings, so we will be watching very closely,” Henares said.
This is not the first time that the BIR has gone after high-profile cases. It has gone after the earnings of world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao as well as the prize money and recording contract income of Rose Fostanes, the Filipino caregiver in Tel Aviv who recently won the top prize in the reality TV show, X Factor Israel.
“We would have preferred Michael to win the Olympic gold medal because gold commands a very high price in the stock market right now, but there’s always that possibility in 2018,” Henares told reporters.