It is not much of a stretch to say that the recently-concluded 2019 Southeast Asian Games have been a major morale booster for the host country, the Philippines. The Filipino audience for the most part got their money’s worth with plenty of medals won by the national athletes, who never gave up the medal lead all through the games’ duration. Their sports performances, from physical to technical (e-sports) have done the nation proud, and some of them are even qualified to move into a truly international multi-sporting event like the Summer Olympics in Tokyo next year. That will require training and other preparations, and the President will see to that.
The Philippine Star reports that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is resolving to put full support on the country’s national athletes as the XXXII Olympic Games rolls in at the middle of the following year. In terms of a more tangible value, that means the President is prepared to allot no less than P100 million in support of training for the representatives of the nation in the 2020 Summer Games. He sees this as a more constructive means of encouraging Filipino youth to find more empowering activities other than drug use.
This was Duterte’s ironclad promise while speaking with the Philippine SEA Games medalists at the Malacañang Palace on the evening of Wednesday, December 18. In his usual colorful speech, the President stated that he will speak with Congress to ensure free allowances and food budget for the country’s Tokyo-bound Olympians. “Your allowance, that’s yours,” remarked Duterte, adding in jest that if the budget for the athletes should fall short then banks will be robbed to make the difference. More seriously, Durerte called on Chairperson Andrea Domingo of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) for augmenting the promised P100-million fund.
PAGCOR has already had a share in the cash incentives to be given to the SEA Games medalists under terms of the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act. Their 2018 annual report lists their contribution as P128.89 million. President Duterte has proposed the spreading of the amount to cover the training of athletes going to the Tokyo Summer Olympics. In addition to the incentives, the medalists were also awarded the Order of Lapu-Lapu, an honor created by the President, given to persons and organizations who have contributed to his advocacies and social campaigns.
Filipino gold medalists are all promised P300,000 in incentives by the government while silver medalists each get P150,000 and bronze medal winners will receive P60,000.
Image from The Filipino Times