BAGUIO City has remained committed to granting incentives to athletes.
During a regular council session on Monday, January 4, 2021, Sports Development Officer Gaudencio Gonzales reiterated the city granted incentives to 28 of the 31 Baguio-based athletes who won in the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
The three, according to Gonzales, had their incentives withheld due to a lack of documents to prove they are Baguio-based athletes.
Gonzales was called to the council after Councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales, chairperson of City Council’s committee on youth welfare and sports development, received complaints from athletes who were allegedly denied their cash incentives granted by the city government.
Gonzales and Sawac clarified the three athletes were not disqualified from the grant as they are required to produce a document that will establish that they are Baguio-based athletes.
Based on the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Ordinance 20-2016 (Adopting the New Sports Incentives Ordinance of the City of Baguio), athletes should be accredited for them to be able to claim incentives. The athlete must submit proof of membership in a sports organization/school/club/discipline/association, or a barangay certification as proof of residency, or a photocopy of the athlete’s school identification card.
The council underscored that only one of the aforementioned documents would suffice for the athlete’s accreditation and entitlement to the incentive.
Ordinance 20-2016 defines a Baguio-based athlete as an individual who, by himself or as a member of a team, is allowed to participate in any individual or team sports competition in the representation of the city because of his enrolment in a school in the city, membership in an accredited sports club, organization, or discipline that is located and operating within the city, official function or simply his residency in the city.
Further, a Baguio-based athlete is one who has qualified and is allowed to represent the city in individual or team sports events in a regional, national, or international sports competition.
City Accountant Antonio Tabin stressed that athletes winning in international competitions such as the SEA Games are representing the entire country and not necessarily their localities.
Councilor Micheal Lawana, however, refuted Tabin’s claim, stating any Baguio-based athlete, whether the sports event one participated in was local or international, is entitled to receive the sports cash incentive granted by the local government.
Further scrutiny revealed that, as per Ordinance 20-2016, national athletes who are Baguio-based and professional athletes who are likewise Baguio-based, as well as their coaches, may be granted special cash incentives in addition to national cash incentives or cash prizes granted or earned in their events.
Councilor Benny Bomogao then urged the Council to revisit Ordinance 20-2016 and look into its possible amendment to clarify whether or not the city should grant incentives to Baguio-based athletes representing the country. (SSB with a report from the Baguio City Council PIO)