PRESIDENT Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has doubled the cash incentives for the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and 12th Asean Para Games. He awarded the bonuses Wednesday afternoon, August 9, at Malacañan Palace.
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) confirmed this development, saying that the funds for the additional incentives were sourced from the Office of the President.
According to Republic Act No. 10699, titled "An Act Expanding the Coverage of Incentives Granted to National Athletes and Coaches," a SEA Games gold medalist is entitled to P300,000. In contrast, silver and bronze medalists receive P150,000 and P60,000, respectively.
For the Asean Para Games, cash bonuses of P150,000, P75,000, and P30,000 await the gold, silver, and bronze medalists.
In light of the President's announcement, these figures were doubled.
The Philippines placed fifth overall in the Cambodia SEA Games, harvesting 58 golds, 86 silvers, and 116 bronzes.
Dabawenyo para swimmer Ernie Gawilan, who currently resides in the Island Garden City of Samal, was elated by the news.
"Happy kaayo mi Ma'am, worth it gyud kaayo ang among paningkamot ug wala nalimtan ni President ang para athletes. Samot na kay si Chairman nag-arrange para masabay ang para athletes ug able athletes (We are extremely happy, Ma'am. Our hard work truly paid off, and President Marcos did not overlook the para-athletes. It's especially wonderful because Chairman [referring to PSC Chairman Richard Bachman] made arrangements for both para-athletes and able athletes to be treated equally)," Gawilan, who clinched two golds, two silvers, and one bronze in the Cambodia Para Games, said in a Facebook interview with SunStar Davao.
He received a total of P960,000 total. "I-tigum lang kay hapit-hapit napod ko mag retire, Ma'am (I will save it as I am nearing retirement, Ma'am)," said the Paralympian who was also present during the awarding rites at Malacañang.
Marcos, in his speech, cited he was fortunate to welcome the "triumphant heroes in Philippine sports" in the Palace.
He cited Filipino athletes for surpassing the competition and bringing out the best version of themselves, becoming exemplars of sporting prowess for the nation and the rest of the world.
"But I think the most important that you demonstrated as you competed in these games was to show the strength of the Filipino spirit, the grace of the Filipino character, and the passion of the Filipino heart," the President said.
He continued, "Pinagmamalaki namin kayo, dapat naman susuklian naman namin ang inyong sakripisyo at dinalang dangal para sa mahal na Pilipinas (We are proud of you, we should repay your sacrifice and the honor you brought for the beloved Philippines)."
The President reiterated his administration's unwavering support for Filipino athletes, coaches, trainers, and individuals who nurture and hone their talents. He even acknowledged the contributions of drivers, athletes’ families, and nutritionists, among others.
Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, the Philippine Olympic Committee president, thanked the President for reiterating his full support to national athletes and Philippine sports.
“President Marcos Jr. welcoming the athletes in Malacanang and personally handing them their incentives is more than enough a strong gesture of his strong belief and confidence in our athletes,” Tolentino said.
The POC chief said that Marcos’ commitment to doubling the incentives shows his heart and passion for Filipino athletes.
Marcos’s support, according to him, “goes far, wide and deep.”
“And I was touched by the fact that our President even praised the drivers who bring our athletes to and from their training and competition venues. That’s heart,” he added. (MLSA)