Senate passes bill providing benefits to past Filipino sports champions


Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel INQUIRER file photo

MANILA, Philippines – Past Filipino sports champions that have long been forgotten may soon receive the benefits and appreciation they deserve through the passage of a Senate bill that will grant them retirement, health, and death benefits.

“Many professional athletes have risked their health and sometimes their very lives for the nation. Their achievements have put the Philippines in the map. But our memories are short,” Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said in a statement Monday.

Pimentel, sponsor of Senate Bill 3322 that was passed on third and final reading, said that the athletes were “adulated during the peak of their careers [but are] easily [forgotten] when they grow old.”

He cited boxing champions Rolando Navarette, who is living in poverty, and Luisito Espinosa, who is working in a casino in California after problems in his career, as reasons for the filing of the bill.

“Something must be done to make concrete our country’s appreciation for the honor that our Filipino champion athletes have brought to the country,” Pimentel said.

“This bill seeks to provide more than lip service to professional athletes who have dedicated their careers to the nation and who have brought prestige to our country,” he said.

The bill, if made into law, will provide a lifetime monthly pension to athletes at least 50 years of age. Professional athletes who win international titles will get P15,000 while P10,000 will be granted for each member of a team that wins.

The athletes will also be deemed honorary members of a special program of the Games and Amusement Board with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

“In case of hospitalization of an athlete, any amount incurred in excess of the PhilHealth benefit shall be shouldered by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO),” Pimentel said.

A grant of P30,000 will also be given to beneficiaries of professional athletes to cover funeral services upon death, he said.

The benefits from the bill will cover all living professional Filipino athletes once it is enacted into law.

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  • Romero Dangoy

    How about the Grand Masters of Kali which is a part of our Philippine Heritage ? 

  • Rosauro

    Maliit Mr. Senator. Make it P40k and P20k for the team member winners. And then after 5 years it will increase to about 15 or 20% due to inflation. This will encourage the young to excell. Baka magkaroon na tayo ng Olympic gold.

  • Platypus09

    Do they have a list?

    Who is making the list and criteria or qualifications?

    There are lots of them out there that need this type of help.

  • symonwho

    I disagree with this bill. Let us not encourage our young to engage in boxing, as gladiators like in the old Rome. There are better things to be productive. It was navarettes fault that he miused his funds when he was champion.

    • magiting78

      I guess this bill is not exclussively for boxing heroes in particular…this is for all sports.

  • Rey

    buti pa 2 kahit paano may pakinabang. eh yong waling-waling? ano ba yan mga senator! tapatan nio naman ng pakipakinabng na batas yng milyon-milyon pera ng bayan ginagastos nio..

    • magiting78

      Waleng-walengkwenta pinag tutuunan nila pansin…ito ba nag mga senador natin n may Pork Barell n P200M taon taon what a waste of money…

  • Robert Martin

    the bill is very fantastic. but it has to determine which level every sports competition should be included. you cannot just give benefits to all champions especially if the tournament is not at par with the world’s best. you can include those who won in the olympics, asian games, recognized world or asian meets in every sports, etc. there are many more that can be included but it has to be streamlined.

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