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CEBU, Philippines – Nine months after the victory of Cebuana skateboarder Margielyn Didal, golfer Lois Kaye Go, judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, and taekwondo jin Rinna Babanto in the 18th Asian Games, their incentives from the Cebu City Government have yet to be disbursed.
The multi-sport event was held at Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia on August 18 to September 2, 2018.
Didal stands to receive P300,000 from Cebu City after bagging a gold in the women’s skateboard street competition, another P300,000 also awaits Go for bagging the gold in the women’s golf team event, P200,000 to Watanabe for winning a silver in women’s judo, and P100,000 to Babanto for bringing home the bronze in taekwondo.
“I remember late last year that when Margielyn Arda Didal came here as a hero, there was this promise of half a million from the City. So, my question is, what happened to that promise?” Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera asked the Council during the its 34th Regular Session on Tuesday, June 4.
The Cebu City Council, however, told Garganera that only P300,000 will be given to Didal.
Citing that the beneficiaries are expecting the incentives, Garganera threw another question to the Council, “Is there anybody from your office, from the Sports Commission, who [could] probably explain to the beneficiaries of this award – not necessarily Margielyn – but all the others who made us proud in the field of sports?”
Councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña then swiftly presented herself on behalf of the Council, “I would be very happy to apologize…. I will apologize for the delay. And hopefully, they’ll understand,” Osmeña said.
Didal, the Cebuana skateboarding champion, had been included in TIME’s 25 Most Influential Teens of 2018.
Cause of Delay
“I talked to her, like few weeks ago, then she [said she] never received a single centavo Mr. Chair (Councilor David Tumulak),” Garganera said.
Garganera asked the other councilors if Didal’s incentives was the “first appropriation.”
“Actually, with this ordinance, we were involved to institutionalize the giving of incentives to athletes. So, that’s the resolution where the medals they garnered in the [Asian Games]” Guardo responded.
Guardo told the Council that an athlete who will garner a gold medal will receive P300,000, P200,000 for the silver medalist, and P100,000 for the bronze medalist.
“So, we are now basing the giving of incentives based on the approved ordinance (of the Council),” Guardo explained.
Cebu City Councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña explained that the delay was also caused by the confusion on where to charge the incentives.
“I think it was also a matter where we charge the amount of the prize that we were giving. It was under the impression that we could charge it to PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) but it was not allowed,” Osmeña told the Council.
Osmeña also reasoned out that the City Council’s ordinance “only covered” the giving of cash incentives for athletes who won in “local competitions.”
“These are all international…. That’s why also, there was a difficulty finding out where we charge the amount. Finally, yes, Member Garganera has explained, it is due to her (Didal) – and the others too – not only Margielyn, but to the others also. So, it was decided to charge it against City-sponsored activities,” Osmeña said.
Osmeña’s claim, however, is inaccurate. There was an ordinance passed by the Cebu City Council on November 14, 2017 that allows the Cebu City Government to give incentives to “outstanding” Cebuano athletes.
According to the ordinance, an athlete who represents Cebu City and wins a gold medal in the Olympics will receive P1 million, while P500,000 and P300,000 will be awarded to the silver and bronze medalists, respectively.
Meanwhile, a cash incentive amounting to P300,000, P200,000 and P100,000 is in place for the Asian medalists, and P100,000, P50,000 and P25,000 for the top performers in the SEA Games. –Rappler.com