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MANILA, Philippines – The financial support the Philippine athletes receive from the government is “not commensurate” with the honor and hard work they deliver, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. admitted on Wednesday, August 9.
Even saying he’s “a little embarrassed,” Marcos vows to support the national athletes more as he also doubled the incentive of the medalists in the recent Southeast Asian Games and ASEAN Para Games.
The President’s announcement meant he would match the nearly P50 million – or P49,706,250 to be exact – in total cash bonus that all medalists will receive under Republic Act 10699.
“I am always a little embarrassed when I see that we are not supporting our athletes and our coaches and our trainers and all the support groups, even the families,” Marcos said during the incentives awarding at Malacañang Palace on Wednesday.
“Alam naman natin, hindi kayo naging champion na nag-iisa. At maraming tumulong para kayo ay maging champion. Maraming nagsakripisyo. Iyon na nga iyong ating mga coach, kung sino ‘yong mga nagpapakain sa inyo, mga magulang ninyo.”
(We know that you didn’t become champions on your own. Many helped you to become a champion. Many sacrificed. People like your coaches, those providing your meals, your parents.)
Team Philippines took home 260 medals with 58 golds, 85 silvers, and 117 bronzes from the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia, and a record-breaking 117 medals with 34 golds, 33 silvers, and 50 bronzes in the 12th ASEAN Para Games.
“So it seems that what we in government, considering the honor and the pride that you bring to the Philippines, it seems that it is not commensurate for the great service that you do to our country and to our people,” said Marcos.
Repay the sacrifice
Under the law, a SEA Games individual gold medal is worth P300,000, a silver medal worth P150,000 and P60,000 for the bronze, while Para Games medalists will receive half of this amount per medal.
Coaches, meanwhile, will receive the equivalent 50 percent of the cash incentives awarded to gold, silver, and bronze medalists. In case of more than one coach, the cash incentives shall be divided among the coaches.
“Dapat naman susuklian naman namin ang inyong ginawang sakripisyo, ang inyong dinala na dangal para sa ating mahal na Pilipinas,” Marcos told the athletes and coaches during the ceremony.
(We need to repay the sacrifice, the honor that you gave our beloved Philippines.)
“Kaya’t asahan ninyo na sa administrayon na ito ay gagawin natin ang lahat para masuportahan natin at ipalabas natin ang kagalingan, ang husay ng ating atleta para makita…
“Kung iniisip ko, sinasabi ko nga sa sarili ko, karamihan diyan hindi natin natulungan. Talagang kung saan-saan na lang kumukuha ng suporta, nakakahiya. Pero ganun pa rin ang resulta, ang ganda-ganda pa rin ng resulta, ang titibay pa rin. Nakaka-proud pa rin.”
(Rest assured that this administration will do everything to support and bring out the athletes’ talent and skills…
(I think, and I tell myself, we don’t get to help most of our athletes. They look for support everywhere, it’s embarrassing. Yet the results remain good, they’re strong. It makes one proud.)
‘Resiliency is a gift’
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Richard “Dickie” Bachmann also highlighted that even “with a great deal of challenge and circumstances, this batch of national athletes managed to overcome.”
“You have reminded this nation that our resiliency is a gift that allows us to conquer obstacles in pursuit of greatness,” said Bachmann.
Para swimmer Angel Otom – who was among those who received the incentive following her three-gold ASEAN performance – said she is thankful for the government’s support, adding “kailangan po talaga ng mga atleta ang sapat na nutrisyon, sapat na training para mas maging malakas kami physically and mentally.”
(The athletes really need the right nutrition, right training to become better physically and mentally.)
PSC commissioner Bong Coo, Fritz Gaston, Edward Hayco, and Walter Torres; and executive director Paulo Tatad also attended the event.
Joining them were Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco, Senator Francis Tolentino, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino, and Philippine Paralympic Committee (PPC) president Michael Barredo. – Rappler.com