PHILIPPINE sports officials recently predicted that the country would win 220 gold medals in the coming Southeast Asian Games.
This rosy outlook might have prompted you to wonder: what, exactly, will a national athlete get if they win a medal in the SEA Games?
There is actually a law covering this exact same topic. Officially, it's called Republic Act (RA) 10699, or 'An Act Expanding the Coverage of Incentives Granted to National Athletes and Coaches, Appropriating Funds Therefor, Repealing for the Purpose Republic Act No. 9064.' What a mouthful. It amends the National Athletes, Coaches, and Trainers Benefits and Incentives Acts of 2001.
Here's what RA 10699 says about SEA Games winners. If you win gold, you are entitled to P300,000. Silver gets you P150,000, while a bronze is worth P60,000.
Should the prediction of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) come true, the government will need to shell out P66 million in gold medal incentives by the end of the SEA Games.
But we digress.
What happens if your team wins a SEA Games medal? If you're part of a team of less than five players, the incentive money from the government will be split among all members. If your team is made up of more than five players, each player will get 25% of the amount.
When they retire, a SEA Games winner will also be entitled to benefits.
Coaches are entitled to half of the cash incentive amount. (However, take note that the coach must have been training the athlete or team for at least six months before the SEA Games.) A coaching team needs to split the incentive money among themselves.
Will these amounts be taxed? "Generally, prizes and awards granted to athletes in local and international sports competitions are exempt from taxes," writes Mickey Ingles, a sports lawyer at Ingles Lauren & Calderon and professor at the Ateneo Law School. He is the author of Laws for Sports and the Sporty: A Handbook in Philippine Sports Law.
This tax break is covered in RA 7549, or 'An Act Exempting All Prizes and Awards Gained From Local and International Sports Tournaments and Competitions from the Payment of Income and Other Forms of Taxation'.
Whether they win or not, a national athlete can always score several benefits, as long as they're registered with the PSC and POC. These include a 20% discount on many purchases (including, yes, movie tickets); free medical and dental consultations in government hospitals; a death benefit of P30,000; priority in government livelihood and housing programs; and the right to use the dorms at the Philippine Sports Commission. They are also entitled to full tuition scholarships in state universities and colleges.
Studying in a private university? Alas, "they are only encouraged by the law to grant scholarships," writes Ingles.