POC ready to spend millions for SEA Games gold medalists
Winning a gold medal could be worth a fortune for Filipino athletes in the 30th Southeast Asian Games—and cost the country’s Olympic body a lot, too.
From the P300,000-cash incentive that the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) will dole out to SEA Games winners, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has promised to double the money for gold-medal performers.
POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino made the announcement during Wednesday’s Team Philippines sendoff ceremony at Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila.
“We, at the POC, will try our best to give the same cash incentive that the government will provide to our athletes based on the law,” said Tolentino before a multitude of athletes, coaches and top sports officials present at the pep rally for the biggest SEA Games in history.
Tolentino, the former sports and rules committee chairperson of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee, said Filipino athletes could collect 180 gold medals at the most.
That means the POC is ready to shell out a total of P54 million for gold medalists in the SEA Games.
Among those who could benefit from the bigger bonus is world champion gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo, who is projected to capture at least five gold medals. Yulo can earn P3 million based on the P600,000-bonanza for every gold.
The same goes for other possible multiple gold medalists in medal-rich sports athletics, aquatics, traditional boat racing, billiards, shooting and arnis, among others.
The POC executive board headed by Tolentino has approved the additional cash bonus similar to the government financial package based on Republic Act No. 10699, or the National Athletes, Coaches and Trainers Benefits and Incentives Act.
The total purse could actually grow bigger.
During the final coordination meeting with sports leaders last week, 45 national sports association collectively projected that the country would win at least 220 gold medals, enough for Team Philippines to reclaim the overall title in the Games.
Chef de mission and PSC Chair William “Butch” Ramirez hailed the athletes and coaches for their commitment to go all-out in capturing the overall title.
SEA Games gold performers will receive their cash bonuses during the POC Christmas party on Dec. 17 in an undisclosed venue.
Apart from the P600,000-cash bonanza, gold winners are also expected to receive more from private sponsors such as presidential adviser for sports Dennis Uy of Phoenix Petroleum and Manny Pangilinan of the MVP group of companies.
Philippine sports legends Lydia de Vega-Mercado and Elma Muros-Posadas of athletics, bowling hall of famers Olivia “Bong” Coo and Rafael “Paeng” Nepomuceno, Asia’s first chess grandmaster Eugene Torre and Olympic silver medalist Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco of boxing provided the inspiration for the athletes.
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