By Hannah Torregoza
A bill seeking additional cash incentives for Filipino athletes who brought tremendous pride to the country has been filed in the Senate.
Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, in filing Senate Bill No. 1225, said it is imperative to increase the cash benefits given to medalists who achieve podium finishes in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and Asian-level sporting events in recognition of their hard work and personal sacrifices as part of the Philippine contingent.
Angara filed the bill following the stellar performance of the country’s national athletes during the recent 30th SEA Games. The Philippine contingent garnered a total of 387 medals, 149 of which were gold medals, 117 silver medals, and 121 bronze medals.
“With such a stellar performance, it is only fitting that our national athletes and their coaches receive higher incentives from the government as they go on to compete in other international competitions,” Angara said.
“What our national athletes achieved in the SEA Games is truly historic and should be heralded. It was not only how they performed in their respective sports, but the way they carried themselves during the games that captured the hearts of Filipinos and our ASEAN neighbors alike,” the senator stressed.
Senate Bill No. 1225 seeks to amend Republic Act 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act, which he sponsored and was enacted into law during the 16th Congress.
The law repealed the original Sports Benefits and Incentives Act of 2001 in order to provide bigger benefits to the country’s national athletes, coaches, and trainers whenever they win in international competitions.
Under the bill, Angara proposed increases on cash incentives for Asian Beach Games and Asian-level competitions that are held at least every two years with at least 25 countries participating, and qualifying competitions for world-level and Asian-level games.
Gold medalists will receive a cash-incentive of P600,000 (from the present P500,000); silver medalists will get P350,000 (from the current P250,000); and bronze medalists will bring home P150,000 (from P100,000).
For the SEA Games, the cash incentive for gold medalists will go up from P300,000 to P400,000; from P150,000 to P200,000 for silver medalists; and from P60,000 to P100,000 for bronze medalists.
In the case of the ASEAN Para Games, the cash incentive for gold medalists will go up to P200,000 (from P150,000); silver medalists will receive P125,000 (from P75,000); and bronze medalists will get P50,000 (from P30,000).
Angara said he is confident the additional incentives will encourage Filipinos to engage in sports, “especially those which have yet to attract mainstream popularity, and represent the country in the future.”