Increased benefits for athletes sought

MANILA -- Athletes who bring honor to the country should be given benefits and incentives equal to their counterparts who competed in events sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee and other quadrennial meet, a Senate bill proposed.

Senate Bill 3313, introduced by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, also wants to increase incentives given to winning national athletes, athletes with disabilities, coaches and trainers.

Among the benefits the bill is seeking for are lifetime exemption from income tax and other taxes that may be imposed relevant to the sports, and a monthly pension of P10,000 commencing five years after winning the Olympics until he/she reaches the age of 60.

Cash awards for Olympic winners range from P1 million to P5 million while gold medal recipients in the Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games will get P1 million and P100,000, respectively.

For competitions with less than five participants per team, the team shall receive the same cash incentives for individual medal winners to be equally shared among the team members actually present during the event.

On the other hand, winners in competitions with five or more participants shall receive three times the cash awards for individual winners to be divided equally among team members who really competed.

Upon the death of any national athlete or coach, his/her primary beneficiaries (widow/widower or children) shall also receive P30,000 to cover funeral expenses.

Funds needed for the implementation of these incentives will be culled from the net cash income of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) to be remitted directly as a special account to the National Sports Development Fund of the PSC.

Part of the NSDF should likewise be used for training of national athletes and selecting elementary and high school athletes in track and field, swimming, table tennis and similar individual sports events "where the Philippines can develop into world class competitors."

"It is through this measure that we can manifest our sincere appreciation for the valiant efforts they have displayed in recent competitions, as well as for the pride and honor they have brought to our country," said Trillanes, chairperson of the Senate committee on amateur sports competitiveness.

The proposed measure is the consolidated version of similar bills filed by Senators Pia Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Lito Lapid and Vicente Sotto III. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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