IT took quite a while, but everything was worth the wait.
Several members of the national team proudly showed their Philippine National Sports Team Identification card, which will allow them to avail of a 20 percent discout in public transportation and other business establishments in the country.
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) sent two of the three batches of booklets that gives national athlets and coaches discount privileges nationwide.
The distribution of the discount cards is pursuant to Republic Act 10699 or the ‘National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.
Aiba World Boxing Championships gold medal winner Nesthy Petecio and Olympic marathoner Mary Joy Tabal were some of the athletes who expressed gratitude to the government sports agency upon receiving their discount booklets.
“Thank you PSC! Unexpected delivery! May 20% discount na ako nito,” Petecio shared on her Facebook account.
“National Athlete privilege, excited to avail this! Thank you Philippine Sports Commission for making this possible,” said Tabal in her own Facebook page.
Under the law, over a thousand members of the national training pool are to benefit from the 20 percent discount on transportation, hotels and restaurants, medicine purchases and leisure activities offered by business establishments all over the country.
PSC Chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez, who is spearheading the effort, believes the big help the project can offer to national athletes and coaches, most especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have always been supportive of our athletes and coaches and we hope this privilege help in easing their burdens caused by COVID-19,” said Ramirez, who has been staying in Philsports, Pasig City to closely monitor the operarions of the agency.
The PSC hopes to send the final batch of cards and booklets two weeks from now.
“We are doing our best to deliver everything within this month even though there are lockdowns due to the pandemic and the limited workforce. We are doing our best to comply with it as much as possible this third week of September we should have sent the last batch,” said Manuel Bitog, Chief of Assistance and Coordination Division and head of the PSC frontline personnel.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) Revenue Resolution 13, series of 2020, prescribes the implementation and regulations of R.A. 10699 on discount privileges.
The Luzon-wide lockdown delayed the initial distribution efforts to national athletes and coaches.
“Karamihan kasi ng mga inilagay ng atleta ay addresses nila nung nandito pa sila sa RMSC (Rizal Memorial Sports Complex) dormitory at saka sa Philsports dormitory. That’s why kinailangan naming kunin ‘yung updated addresses nila,” said Bitog who is currently stationed in RMSC along with the sports arm’s skeleton force.
The PSC sent all the national athletes and coaches under its care earlier this year back to their respective hometowns and provinces to ensure their safety against the threat of COVID-19.
"We have been remedying it through coordinating with the different concerned NSAs (National Sports Associations) to contact athletes regarding their addresses and if their areas are serviceable to the courier. Sa ngayon may 300 na lang na natitira as the last batch dahil hinihintay namin i-forward sa amin ang addresses nila,” said Bitog.