Press Release
August 24, 2015

Senate eyes bigger incentives for athletes, coaches, trainers

Here's good news for national athletes and their coaches and trainers: They will get bigger incentives if a bill the Senate is pushing for is enacted into law.

Senator Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Games, Amusement and Sports and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 2898, said the approval of the bill on third and final reading today would increase the incentives given to "winning athletes, coaches and trainers."

The bill was approved with 14 votes, no negative vote and an abstention from Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile who attended his first plenary session Monday after an absence of more than a year from the Senate.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said that the measure sought "to help further develop the competitiveness of Filipino athletes and give them the financial boost due them as they represent our nation in various international sporting events."

According to Angara, the measure also known as National Athletes, Coaches and Trainers Benefits and Incentives Act, would also broaden the scope of "national athletes" to include Athletes With Disabilities (AWD).

Angara cited 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.

Yet, Angara lamented, "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 law, Angara said AWDs would be recognized as national athletes and accredited by the National Paralympic Committee of the Philippines.

SBN 2898 was authored by Deputy Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto and Senators Angara, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Pia Cayetano, Angara.

Currently, Angara said, national athletes would be 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 proposed measure, 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, each member would 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.

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 fees 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," Angara said. (Pilar S. Macrohon)

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