SEA Games gold medalist airs sentiments

AN IRKED Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist called out a drug store for not giving an athlete discount after purchasing medicine for her recovery.

Sandi Menchi Abahan, who recently bagged a gold medal in the women’s obstacle course in the recently concluded 30th SEA Games took to social media her disappointment after a drug store failed to give her discount as embodied under Republic Act (RA) 10699 known as the “National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.”

“I presented my athlete’s ID to avail of my supposed discount. The pharmacist judgingly smirked and said ‘athlete’s discount?’ She called to ask her manager, pero hindi pa rin nila binigay. And the pharmacist seemingly found that funny,” Abahan said in her Facebook post.

RA 10699 was enacted into law, expanding the benefits received under RA 9064 (Approved on April 5, 2001) to promote excellence in sports by looking after the welfare of national athletes and coaches competing for the country and by providing benefits and incentives for national athletes and other athletes who win in international sports competitions and bring honor and recognition to the country.

The law defines “national athletes” as athletes including persons with disabilities who are Filipino citizens, members of the national training pool, recognized and accredited by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the Philippine Sports Commission, including athletes with disabilities (AWD) who are recognized and accredited by the National Paralympic Committee of the Philippines (NPC PHIL) and the PSC and who have represented the country in international sports competitions.

“National coaches” refer to coaches of national athletes, who are Filipino citizens, members of the national coaches training pool, recognized and accredited by the PSC and the POC, or the PSC and NPC PHIL in the case of AWD coaches who have represented the country as official coaches to national athletes in international sports competitions (Section 3[d]).

“This was not the first time. I’m tired of people not acknowledging this law. I’m tired of people that think ‘athletes lang kami,’” Abahan added.

Under RA 10699, national athletes and national coaches are can avail a 20-percent discount from all establishments relative to the utilization of transportation services, hotels and other lodging establishments, restaurants and recreation centers and purchase of medicine and sports equipment anywhere in the country for the actual and exclusive use or enjoyment of the national athlete and coach.

National athletes and coaches are also entitled free medical and dental consultations in government hospitals and similar establishments anywhere in the country and coverage in the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. through the sponsored program of the PSC.

“We may not have studied science or math or English like some of you did. But we have skills and talent that might be, for you useless, pero kami, kabuhayan namin yun. At pinaghihirapan. We struggle not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally when we train. We work hard to bring pride to the country,” Abahan added.


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