New cash windfall pads bonus for medalists
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has the resources to make good on its promise to give out a hefty P300,000 bonus to every Filipino athlete that wins gold in the 30th Southeast Asian Games—142 of them and counting.
“There were donations to the POC during the time of president Ricky [Vargas]. We intentionally did not touch our savings, so we can give them to the athletes,’’ said POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, when asked on Tuesday where their funding will come from.
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has a similar reward scheme for gold medalists, plus additional cash incentives for silver and bronze medalists, but it should have no difficulty meeting its obligations being a government entity that also has a cash cow in Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corpo.
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, the POC stands to shell out P42.6 million for all the gold medalists, with the PSC doing the same, and then some, as it will also award silver medalists P150,000 and bronze winners P60,000, which would make for a total of P65.22 million from the PSC.
As of this writing, there are 106 silver medal winners and 112 bronze medalists from Team Philippines.
Incidentally, President Duterte on Tuesday also pledged an additional P250,000, P150,000 and P100,000 for gold, silver and bronze medal winners, respectively, on Tuesday, according to a reliable Inquirer source—ensuring a windfall for winning athletes, especially multiple medal winners.
Gymnast Carlos Yulo, for example, ruled the all-around final and floor exercise events in men’s artistic gymnastics while claiming five silver medals from the horizontal bars, parallel bars, pommel horse, still rings and vault, giving him a grand total of P3.2 million for his efforts.
All Filipino medalists in these Games have been invited by Mr. Duterte to Malacañang on Dec. 18, when the cash incentives will be given away. As things stand, Malacañang will dole out P62.6 million to all medalists (P35.5 million for gold, P15.9 million for silver and P11.2 million for bronze) with still several Filipinos in the hunt for medals.
The POC, for its part, will release the bonuses during a Christmas party the local Olympic body has scheduled on Dec. 17 at the Conrad Hotel at Pasay City.
Aside from Yulo, several other Filipinos or teams have bagged more than one medal in the ongoing biennial meet. Some, like dancesport tandems or other team sports, will have to split their cash rewards equally. INQ