AFTER winning the country's first gold medal in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing China, Filipino archer Gabriel Luis Moreno is not entitled to any cash incentive from the government.
Philippine laws guarantee incentives to Filipino athletes who won medals in major sporting events like the Olympics, Asian Games, World Championships and Southeast Asian Games.
Under Section 8 of Republic Act 9064, otherwise known as the National Athletes, Coaches and Trainers Benefits and Incentives Act of 2001, gold medal winners are set for a P5 million bonus in the Olympics, P2.5M for the world championships, P1M for the Asian Games and P100,000 in the SEA Games.
The law also provides for smaller cash incentives for silver and bronze medal winners.
But in the case of Moreno, Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia bared that the Youth Olympic Games, which only opened in 2010 in Singapore, is not yet part of the Incentives Act.
“This Youth Olympic Games started only in Singapore four years ago, and this is not yet covered by the Incentives Act,” said Garcia.
“Hindi kasi kasama sa mga may incentives 'yang Youth Olympic Games pati yung Asian Youth Games, Indoor Games at Beach Games, pero sinasama na sila sa proposed amendments sa incentives act,” explained Garcia of the which is now subject for revision.
Garcia, however, bared he is now closely coordinating with Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco to come up with an incentive for the Dela Salle Greenhills archer.
“We will try to make a representation, through the POC president, we will make an appeal to either the Office of the President or Pagcor or Congress to allocate a certain fund for Moreno,” said the PSC chairman.
“He brought honor to the country being the first Olympian (from the Philippines) to win a gold,” Garcia added.
Moreno, a grandson of television veteran host German Moreno, rescued the Philippines from a medal-less campaign in the 2nd Youth Olympic Games as he partnered with Chinese archer Li Jiaman in the mixed team competitions.
The duo beat the tandem of Muhammad Zoklepeli of Malaysia and Cynthia Freywald of Germany, 38-37, 38-35 and 37-33.
The campaign of Moreno in the prestigious tournament for athletes aged 14-18 years old can be considered monumental, considering that he was only entered as 30th seed out of 32 participants in the men’s singles.
Meanwhile, the young archer who won five gold, one silver and one bronze medal in the 2013 Palarong Pambansa in Dumaguete city is set to get a hero's welcome when he arrives on Sunday.
“There will be a welcome party, we have a group assigned to fetch them at the airport with proper streamers and fanfare, he deserves the recognition. He brought pride to our country,” said Garcia.
Meanwhile, POC first vice president Joey Romasanta revealed that they are now fast tracking the application of Moreno for inclusion in the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship program.
Romasanta believes that with the poise and steadiness Moreno has shown in the Youth Olympic Games, he has the potential to win the country’s first gold medal in the Summer Olympics.
“We will re-apply his scholarship. Moreno has a bright future in our country’s quest for the elusive gold medal in the Olympics,” said Romasanta.