Playing and winning for flag and country could now come with a 20-percent discount for basic commodities and recreation and more cash incentives.
The bonanza loomed after the House of Representatives and the Senate this week reconciled clashing provisions of House Bill 5912 and Senate Bill 2898 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Law—a measure that grants athletes 20 percent discount from select establishments such as transportation services, restaurants, medicines, medical and dental consultations in government hospitals, National Health Insurance Program coverage and scholarship from state universities and colleges and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Aside from the 20 percent discount, an individual national athlete who will win in international competitions will be granted cash incentives of P30,000 at the minimum for a bronze medalist in the Asean Para Games to as to much as P10 million pesos for the gold medalist in the Summer Olympic Games.
The tournaments covered by the cash incentive for winning athletes include: Summer/Winter Olympic Games, Youth Olympic/Paralympic Games, Asian/Asian Winter Games, Asian Paralympic Games, Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, Asian Beach Games, Asian-level competition held biennially with 45 countries participating, Southeast Asian Games and Asean Para Games.
The cash incentive will depend on the tournament level and the medal won.
A winning National Team with fewer than five members will get the same amount of cash incentive, which will be equally divided among its members.
On the other hand, each member of the winning National Team with five or more members will receive 25 percent of the cash awards to the individual medal winners.
The coaches will get 50 percent of the cash awards for gold, silver and bronze medalists.
“Representing the country in sports competitions is a tall order and due recognition should be extended to our hardworking athletes for the honor and sacrifice that they bring to the country,” Rep. Wes Gatchalian of Alay Buhay party-list and one of the authors of the measure, said in a statement.
“We should be nurturing and assisting our athletes to motivate them to excel,” Gatchalian added.
National athlete winners in demonstration and exhibition sports in the Olympic Games with 45 countries participating will receive 25 percent of the cash awards for the Olympic medalists, while a national athlete who wins in regular major international sports competition will also be entitled to scholarship benefits in the form of full tuition in state universities and colleges in order to complete a college degree.
But regardless of a win, the national athletes and coaches will also enjoy free medical and dental consultations in government hospitals and similar establishments anywhere in the country, as well as coverage in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. as a sponsored member of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), provided that by reaching the age of 55 for athletes and 60 for coaches, the athlete or coach will be honorary members of the program, subject to existing rules and regulations.