YENG Guiao is mighty glad the new Incentives Act was passed in time for Hidilyn Diaz's historic silver-medal finish in the Rio Olympic Games.
Unknown to many, the Rain or Shine coach was one of the principal sponsors in the Lower House of the bill that led to Republic Act 10699, which increased the incentives of Filipino medalists in major multi-sports competitions and expanded the benefits for all national athletes and coaches.
"Nakapa-timely since it became a law just last November," said the Rain or Shine coach, who, along with Davao Rep. Anthony del Rosario, sponsored the bill during his term as representative of the first district of Pampanga.
The new Incentives Act repealed RA 9064, which, among other things, granted a P5 million incentive for Olympic gold medalists, P2.5M for silver medalists, and P1M for bronze winners.
Thanks to the new Incentive Act which was signed into law by former President Aquino last November 13, 2015, or just nine months before her Olympic feat, Diaz stands to receive P5 million from the government - or double of what she would've gotten under the old law.
Olympic gold medal winners now stand to receive P10M and bronze medalists P2M.
Guiao said the new law was pushed by Mike Barredo, a leader of the PWD sector and former commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission, while the Senate version of the bill was sponsored in the Senate by now Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman Sen. Sonny Angara.
"I was there until the end," Guiao said, referring to the bicameral hearings that consolidated the two bills.
But more than the bigger incentives package, Guiao was prouder of the provisions that gave addional benefits to national coaches and athletes, from 20 percent discounts in transportation fares to priority in housing, hospital and school benefits, and tax exemptions.