Senate OKs bill granting bigger rewards to winning PH athletes
Fourteen senators voted to approve a bill that would almost double the incentives being given to “winning athletes, coaches, and trainers.”
No senator voted against Senate Bill No. 2898 also known as the National Athletes, Coaches and Trainers Benefits and Incentives Act, when the Senate passed it on third and final reading Monday except for Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, who abstained.
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, who sponsored the bill as chairman of the Senate committee on games, amusement and sports, explained that at present, national athletes are entitled to receive an incentive ranging from P10,000 to a maximum of P5 million, whenever they bring honor to the country in the field of sports.
Under the bill, the cash incentives for winning athletes in individual events mostly doubled.
For the Olympic Games, the gold medalists would be granted P10 million, the silver medalists P5 million, and the bronze medalists P2 million each, while for the Youth Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, the gold medalists would receive P5 million, the silver medalists P2.5 million, and the bronze medalists P1 million each.
As for the Asian Games, the gold medalists would be entitled to P2 million cash incentives, the silver medalists P1 million, and the bronze medalists P400,000 each while for the SEA Games, the gold medalists would get P300,000, the silver medalists P150,000, and the bronze medalists P60,000 each.
For team events with five or more participants, the bill proposes that each member should get 25 percent of the cash incentives provided for the individual medal winners.
Apart from regular major competitions, medalists of world-level championships held every two years or with at least 45 countries participating and Asian-level competitions held every two years or with at least 25 countries participating would also receive cash incentives.
“Athletes inspire us and demonstrate what is possible with perseverance and hard work. We want to make them feel their efforts are worth it. Giving our athletes proper recognition aligns with our goal to build a society that properly rewards those who succeed,” Angara said in a statement.
The bill also sought to grant every national athlete, coach and trainer a 20-percent discount on transportation, hotels and other lodging establishments, restaurants, purchase of medicine and sports equipment for their actual and exclusive use; free medical and dental consultation in private and government hospitals, retirement and death benefits.
Winning national athletes would also be entitled to scholarship benefits in the form of full tuition in state colleges and universities.
“Marapat na tingalain ang ating magagaling na atleta, maging ang kanilang mga coach o trainer, lalo na kung matagumpay nilang itinataas ang ating bandila sa iba’t ibang dako ng mundo. Nararapat lamang na sila’y bigyan ng angkop na pagkilala, at sapat na suporta at insentibo,” said Angara.
(It is only right to recognize our great athletes, even their coaches or trainers, especially when they bring pride to country in different competitions around the world. It is only right to give them due recognition and ample support and incentive.)
The senator said the bill would also broaden the scope of “national athletes” to include Athletes With Disabilities (AWD).
Angara cited the case of Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta, a three-time paralympian, who won 10 gold medals during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) ParaGames and a handful of silver and bronze medals. Her latest triumph was during the 2014 Asean ParaGames where she bagged 2nd place in the women’s powerlifting category.
But the senator lamented that until now, “there is still no legal mandate granting benefits and incentives to AWDs.”
“In many ways, our AWDs are deprived of equal opportunities and access to public facilities. Their limitations did not stand in their way and we have witnessed how these individuals push the limits to bring pride and honor to the country,” he said.
Under the proposed measure, Angara said AWDs would be recognized as national athletes and accredited by the National Paralympic Committee of the Philippines.
The bill was authored by Deputy Minority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto and Senators Angara, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Pia Cayetano, Angara said. IDL
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