FILIPINO athletes with disability who won in the recent 8th ASEAN Para Games finally received their cash incentives as provided under Republic Act 10699 or the Act Expanding the Coverage of Incentives Granted to National Athletes and Coaches.
Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate committee on games, amusement and sports, led the awarding of incentives to all medalists recently at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
He was joined during the event by Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Richard Garcia and Philippine Sports Association for Disabled Athletes headed by Mike Barredo.
“It’s high time we properly recognize the triumphs of our outstanding differently-abled athletes who have been heaping medals and bringing pride and honour to the country,” said Angara, author and sponsor of RA 10699.
“This is truly a memorable occasion as this is the first batch of national para-athletes who will be receiving bigger, well-deserved incentives under the new athletes incentives law which we - all the stakeholders and our colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives, namely Cong. Albert Del Rosario, Cong. Wes Gatchalian, and Cong. Yeng Guiao - worked hard to pass.”
The Philippine team bagged 59 medals -16 gold, 17 silver, and 26 bronze medals – during the meet held in Singapore last December.
A total cash incentive of P6.8 million was given away.
Under the new law, ASEAN Para Games gold medalists will get P150,000 each, silver medalists P75,000, and bronze medalists P30,000 each, while coaches stand to get cash incentives equivalent to half of the amount the winning athletes received.
Prior to the enactment of RA 10699, winning differently-abled athletes were granted only token incentives.
In 2010, gold medalists received P15,000 while silver and bronze medal winners earned P10,000 and P5,000 respectively.
Aside from the recognition of athletes with disability as national athletes, the new law also updates and raises the cash incentives - amount of which were mostly doubled -awarded to winning athletes, coaches, and trainers.
“The term ‘national athletes’ should also encompass all athletes including those who are differently-abled. Tayong lahat ay saksi sa kanilang paulit-ulit na patunay na hindi naging hadlang ang kanilang limitasyon sa pagbibigay ng dangal at karangalan sa bansa,” said Angara, who also worked for the Congress’ passage of a bill, now awaiting the President’s signature, exempting persons with disability from value-added tax.