ASEAN Para Games double gold medalist and Rio Paralympics qualifier Ernie Gawilan stands to receive P375,000 as cash reward from the government, thanks to a rejigged law that entitled differently abled athletes the same incentive as other national athletes.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) executive director Atty. Guillermo Iroy Jr. said the Davao-based para swimmer will be among the first beneficiaries of the newly consolidated Republic Act No. 10699, also known as the 'National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.'
Iroy said that under the new law passed only last month, Gawilan will receive P150,000 each for the gold medals he won in the 400-freestyle and 200-m IM S8 events of the Asean Para Games held in Singapore from Dec. 3 to 10. He will also receive P75,000 for his silver medal in the 100-m freestyle.
“We are happy that they will be the first to benefit from the new law,” Iroy said.
National Paralympic Committee of the Philippines president Mike Barredo last month hailed the passage of what he called a “landmark law."
“The passage showed the government’s commitment, through the President, to support our athletes striving for excellence,” he said.
“It’s always motivational for our athletes to do better, to try harder with the promise of benefits and incentives. More so, our differently-abled athletes because it’s the first time they’ve been recognized as national athletes by law. Now, they’re officially recognized as belonging to the mainstream.”
The new law will be used as the guide for rewarding the medalists in the 8th ASEAN Para Games, where 67 Filipino athletes competed in 10 of the 15 sports.
Also bound to receive incentives are the rapid chess team of James Infiesto, Henry Lopez and Sander Servino. Under the new law, a Filipino gold medalist at the ASEAN Para Games will receive a bonus of P150,000. A silver medalist will be given P75,000 and a bronze medalist, P30,000.
For team events, the provision is the same incentive will be given divided equally for a gold medal winning squad of less than five participants actually present during the competition.
For teams with five or more players, each participant will receive 25 percent of the incentive for an individual medalist. For demonstration or exhibition sports in the Olympics, the incentive is 25 percent of the provision for a medalist in a regular Olympic event.