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Marcos rewards athletes’ sacrifices


‘It’s not just the athletes. Their coaches trained them, their nutritionists made them nutritious meals and they have access to the facilities.’.

President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. lauds para swimmer Angel Otom for winning four gold medals in the ASEAN Para Games recently in Phnom Penh. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PPA

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. again opened the doors of Malacañang to laud the achievements and appreciate the sacrifices of national athletes who saw action in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games and the ASEAN Para Games in Cambodia last month.

Over 300 athletes and coaches were in attendance during the program where the Chief Executive doubled their cash incentives.

According to Republic Act 10699, or the Athletes and Coaches’ Incentives Act, SEA Games gold medalists in individual sports will receive P300,000 while silver and bronze medalists are entitled to P150,000 and P60,000, respectively.

Meanwhile, ASEAN Para Games winners will get P150,000 for gold, P75,000 for silver and P30,000 for bronze medals.

The country collected 58 gold, 86 silver and 116 bronze medals in the previous SEA Games while emerging with 34 gold, 33 silver and 49 bronze medals in the ASEAN Para Games, raising the total of cash incentives to more than P49 million.

Marcos said he will double the amount as his way of expressing his gratitude for making the country proud in the international arena. The fund will be sourced from the Office of the President.

“I will give an incentive to the athletes who won and gave good results. I think it is only right because of all you sacrificed,” Marcos said during the brief ceremony held at the Ceremonial Hall inside Malacañang.

“It’s not just the athletes. Their coaches trained them, their nutritionists made them nutritious meals and they have access to the facilities. We plan to extend our support to the Philippine team from the athletes to the staff.”

Para swimmer Angel Otom said she is thankful for the government’s support.

“It’s incredibly overwhelming because out of all the achievements I’ve accomplished and the challenges I’ve faced, I find myself here now,” said Otom, who took home a total of P600,000 for winning four gold medals in the ASEAN Para Games.

“The challenges I went through in the past have ultimately led to positive results. And now, I’m here to represent the Philippines.”

Aside from President Marcos, also in attendance are Philippine Sports Commission Richard “Dickie” Bachmann, Philippine Olympic Committee Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo, and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation chairperson and chief executive officer Alejandro Tengco.

Tolentino lauded the support that Marcos threw not just to the national athletes but also to those who were working behind the scene.

“President Marcos welcoming the athletes in Malacañang and personally handing them their incentives is more than enough a strong gesture of his strong belief and confidence in our athletes,” Tolentino, a former lawmaker and current Tagaytay City Mayor, said.

“And committing more incentives to the athletes shows that his heart and passion goes with Filipino athletes. President Marcos’ support to the athletes 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.”

With the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou drawing near, Marcos stressed that he will do his best to help the athletes reach their full potential and surpass their haul of four gold, two silver and 15 bronze medals in Jakarta in 2018.

“We should repay your sacrifices, the honor you brought to our beloved Philippines,” the Chief Executive said.

“So, expect that in this administration, we will do everything to support you and showcase the excellence, the skill of our athletes, so that people can see.”

By Ivan Suing and Tiziana Celine Piatos

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