Unless vetoed by President Aquino, a bill passed by Congress increasing financial incentives to athletes winning medals in various international competitions, mostly by as much as 100 percent, will become law and operative by Nov. 16.
Besides the athletes, coaches and trainers will also get additional incentives. The biggest beneficiary would be the winners of gold medals in the Olympics who will get at least R10 million from the government.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) Chairman Tom Carrasco said a copy of the expanded RA 9064 (SB No. 2898 and HB No. 5912) has been forwarded to Malacañang last Oct. 21 for Aquino’s signature.
Menardo Guevarra, deputy executive secretary for legal affairs, said the bill will “lapse into law if not vetoed or acted upon by the President pursuant to Art. VI, Sec. 27 (1) of the Constitution.”
The bill has been signed by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Senate President Franklin Drilon. Carrasco expressed his gratitude for the lawmakers for passing the law in time for next year’s big event—the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Under the expanded version of the law, known as the Sports Benefits and Incentives Act of 2001, an Olympic gold medal will come with a cash reward of P10 million, P5 million for silver and P2 million for bronze.
Presently, an Olympic gold is worth P5 million, while a silver P2.5 million and bronze P1 million.
In the Asian Games, P2 million will go to the gold medalist, while P1 million for the silver and P400,000 for bronze. In the current law, a gold is P1 million, silver P500,000 and bronze P100,000.
The cash tier of the biennial Southeast Asian Games was also upgraded with the gold assured of P300,000, silver P150,000 and P60,000 for bronze, which is much better than the previous P100,000-P50,000-P10,000.
Major changes were also applied to cash rewards in the quadrennial world championships, Youth Olympics, Asian Beach Games, Asian Indoor, Asian Martial Arts, SEAG and Para Games.
The winning coaches will also be rewarded with 50 percent of the corresponding medal won by the athletes they train.
Carrasco said POC and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) officials began working on the expansion of the law three years ago.
Funding will come from the Pagcor, which will directly transfer the account to the National Sports Development Fund of the PSC.
By : Nick Giongco, Manila Bulletin