Bigger cash incentives are awaiting the 121 Philippine team medalists of the recently concluded 29th Southeast Asian Games held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“We are very proud of our winning athletes. Bilang pasasalamat at pagkilala sa kanilang pagkapanalo, mas malaking insentibo po ang naghihintay sa kanilang pagbabalik,” said Senator Sonny Angara, who sponsored the law increasing the incentives and benefits for winning national athletes. Other senators who authored the law include Senators Ralph Recto, Tito Sotto, Cynthia Villar and former senator Pia Cayetano.
Under Republic Act 10699, SEA Games gold medalists will each receive P300,000, silver medalists will receive P150,000, while bronze medalists will get P60,000 each.
Before the enactment of the law in November of 2015, SEA Games gold medalists were only entitled to P100,000 cash incentives, silver medalists P50,000, and bronze medalists P10,000. Of the 121 medals this year, 24 are gold, 33 are silver, and 64 are bronze.
Among the country’s most lucrative events were athletics, boxing, billiards, gymnastics, judo, taekwondo, triathlon, and basketball.
The Philippine delegation failed to meet its target of 50 gold medals, and ended the campaign with the country’s worst finish in the SEA Games since 1999.
“Maaari pong may pagkukulang tayo sa preparasyon at pagsasanay ng ating mga atleta. Corrective and remedial measures must be undertaken especially since we are about to host the next SEA Games in 2019,” Angara said.
Since the Philippines, as the host country, made history by winning its first-ever SEA Games overall championship title in 2005, the country has dropped to 6th place finish in 2007, 5th in 2009, 6th in 2011, 7th in 2013, and 6th in 2015 and 2017–with the gold medal haul dipping for every edition to its lowest this year.
The veteran legislator has urged all stakeholders to work together to improve the performance of the Philippine team by adopting a framework for a long-term, sustainable and ambitious sports program aimed at achieving success not only in the SEA and Asian Games but in the Olympics as well.
The seasoned lawmaker is also batting for the establishment of a Philippine Amateur Sports Training Center so that athletes and coaches who carry our flag will have a well-equipped home and training facilities at par with international standards.
The youthful senator pointed out that one of the primary problems besetting the country’s sports sector is funding, noting that last year’s P1.3 billion funding for the Philippine team pales in comparison to Thailand’s equivalent budget of P13 billion, Singapore’s P6.5 billion, and Indonesia and Malaysia’s P4-billion funding.
“All hands must be on deck to help our national team dominate the 2019 SEA Games. As a sports-loving nation, we should always aim higher. There is a need for us to invest more in sports not just to help our teams win in international competitions but to promote healthy and active lifestyle among Filipinos,” he said.
Angara, vice chairman of the Senate sports committee, will preside a public hearing to discuss the various bills seeking to create a Philippine Amateur Sports Training Center and expand the Philippine Sports Commission.