By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region (BicolToday.com) – Proposal in Congress to amend the law granting incentives to national athletes and expanding its coverage by providing more cash incentives to national athletes in new international sports competitions get additional muscles as Manny Pacquiao of boxing and Joseller Guaio of basketball have endorsed the move.
According to Representative Terry Ridon, Kabataang Partylist, two (2) prominent sports personalities-turned-lawmakers have thrown their support to a bill which seeks to expand incentives for national athletes winning in international competitions.
Boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, and Philippine Basketball Association coach and Pampanga Rep. Joseller “Yeng” Guaio recently signed as co-author to House Bill No. 4915, a bill authored by Ridon.
The sports bill seeks to amend Republic Act No. 9064, or the “Sports Benefits and Incentives Act of 2001” to expand cash incentives for national athletes and include more international competitions in the coverage of the law.
With the support of the two legislators, Ridon is optimistic the proposed amendment to the Sports Incentive Act will pass into law.
“We are thankful that the likes of Rep. Pacquiao and Rep. Guiao are supportive of our effort to expand incentives for our athletes. We believe that the Congress leadership will take cognizance of this bill and let it pass into law at the soonest,” he said.
In the explanatory note of HB 4915, Ridon explained the proposed bill “aims to correct the error of the 11th Congress” in drafting RA 9064, which strictly defined international competitions, thus barring national athletes competing in new sporting events “from enjoying the benefits that they so deserve.”
“RA 9064 grants cash and other non-monetary benefits and incentives to national athletes and their coaches. However, the 13-year old law has no provision to adjust its scope to cover new sports competitions,” Ridon said.
“Such limit resulted in the recent case of world-class Filipino archer Gabriel Luis Moreno, who bagged the nation’s first gold medal in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China last August 24. Since the Youth Olympic Games was only introduced in 2010, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) sadly announced that Moreno is not entitled to any cash incentive,” the legislator explained.
Sixteen-year old Moreno made history when he won the gold medal in the mixed team event in archery in the recently-concluded Youth Olympics in China.
Under RA 9064, Olympic gold medalists are entitled to a P5-million cash incentive. However, the PSC announced that Moreno’s win is not covered by the said law.
HB 4915 seeks to amend the definition of “international competitions” to allow the inclusion of newly-established international sports events like the Youth Olympics in the coverage of the Sports Incentives Law.
The proposed bill also contains a provision allowing for the retroactive application of the law’s revisions, thus ensuring that medalists like Moreno will be covered once the amendments are passed into law. [BicolToday.com]