PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will meet the Filipino athletes in Malacañang on Wednesday as she hands over them bonuses for their impressive performances in the recent 25th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Laos.
The awarding rites will held at the Heroes' Hall wherein the President will award P15 million to the medalists, courtesy of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the private sector.
“It’s ready and this is our way again to congratulate them of their achievements in Laos,” said Angping of the total cash incentives.
Of the P15 million, Angping said P6.6 million was allocated by the government through Republic Act 9064, or the Sports Incentives Act, which grants P100,000 for gold, P50,000 for silver and P10,000 for bronze medalists.
He said the “extra money” was raised through the help of Tagaytay Highlands, Pacific Online, Discovery Suites and Hapee Toothpaste of Lamoiyan Corp.
The PSC earlier handed over P100,000 each or P3.8 million to the 38 gold medalists during the agency's Christmas party at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium last December 22.
Set to receive bigger rewards include swimmer Miguel Molina and world-class cue artist Rubilen Amit who won two individual golds each worth a total of P600,000 as well as the five boxing gold medalists who got an extra P300,000 each from their chief patron, telecommunications mogul Manny Pangilinan.
Angping said President Arroyo wanted to hand out the incentives last January 6 but it was moved to Wednesday due to conflict of schedule.
“The thing was most of the athletes had gone home to their respective provinces after our Christmas party, bringing with them the P100,000 bonus from the PSC. On January 13 they will get everything,” said Angping who earlier predicted a lower 32-gold medal haul for the country.
The 251-man delegation saw action in the landlocked nation from December 9 to 18, 2009 finishing fifth in the 11-nation meet reaping 38 gold, 35 silvers and 50 bronzes.
The Philippines got about 10 percent of the 372 gold medals at stake, the same output ratio the country had in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand two years ago where the 620 Filipinos won 41 out of 476 gold medals.
The country placed sixth in the event, a far cry from its champion position in 2005 when it hosted the 23rd edition.
Athletics was the biggest contributor with seven gold, three silver, and four bronze medals, an improvement from the 5-7-9 medal tally in 2007. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)