Press Release
July 30, 2021

Drilon corrects Duterte mouthpiece: No need for Congress to pass a law to exempt Hidilyn Diaz's Olympic winnings from income tax

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon, former justice secretary, said that Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque's claim is erroneous that a law is needed to exempt Olympic Gold Medalist Hidilyn Diaz's winnings from income tax payment.

"Olympic-related prizes, awards and incentives given to Olympic Gold Medalist Hidilyn Diaz should be tax exempt. There is no need for Congress to pass a law to do that. Roque's statement is erroneous, if not malicious," Drilon said on Friday.

"The Congress, through RA 10699 which was passed during the Aquino administration, already exempted all prizes and awards granted to athletes from the payment of income tax. It is erroneous interpretations such as of Roque's that create the confusion," Drilon said.

"The BIR has already spoken contradicting Roque's misplaced interpretation of RA 10699," he added.

The BIR clarified yesterday that the P10 million cash incentive for Olympic gold medal winners from the Philippine government mandated under Republic Act No. 10699, "shall be considered an exclusion from gross income by virtue of Section 32(B)(7)(d) of the Tax Code." Under Section 32 (B) (7) (d) of the National Internal Revenue Code, all prizes and awards granted to athletes in local and international sports competitions and tournaments whether held in the Philippines or abroad and sanctioned by their national sports associations are excluded from gross income, according to Drilon.

Hidilyn Diaz made history for the Philippines by winning the gold medal in the women's 55-kilogram weightlifting competition at the Tokyo Olympics, which finally ended the country's quest for a gold medal in the quadrennial Olympics after 97 years. For winning in the Olympics, Hidilyn is set to receive a P10 million cash incentive based on Republic Act No. 10699, which became law during the Aquino administration. Aside from that, various private sectors have pledged to give cash incentives to Hidilyn for her historic win.

Drilon reiterated his hopes that the recent victory of Hidilyn Diaz in the Tokyo Olympics will pave the way for more benefits, including augmentation of their allowances and additional incentives.

"Consistent with the objectives of RA 10699, we must promote excellence in sports by looking after the welfare of national athletes and coaches competing for the country and by providing benefits and incentives for national athletes and other athletes who win in international sports competitions and bring honor and recognition to the country," Drilon said.

Drilon recalled how Hidilyn trained with makeshift weights made out of broomsticks and duffel bags in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.

"Her resourcefulness and resolve to win are admirable. Hidilyn Diaz has shown us that with heart and perseverance, the Filipino can emerge triumphant. We can prevail and overcome," Drilon said.

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