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Former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his allies called on the national government and commercial establishments to provide discounts and benefits for athletes, regardless of their sport and achievements.
During their dialogue with Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, Cayetano lamented the struggle of award-winning athletes who received little to no support or recognition before their success in international sporting events.
“Ang wish po ng ating mga atleta, ‘di pa sila kilala, ‘di pa sila sikat, ‘di pa sila nananalo, may suporta na. Kasi usually, bumubuhos ang suporta pag medalist na,” he said as he pushed for a government grassroots sports program to help local athletes.
(Our athletes wish for support, even before they win and become popular. Usually they get support only after they win medals.)
Meanwhile, Batangas 2nd District Rep. Raneo Abu reminded commercial establishments that under Republic Act No. 10699, their businesses are entitled to tax deductions if they extend discounts to national athletes.
The lawmaker said Diaz was the first recipient of benefits under the said law after securing a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
For his part, Bulacan 1st District Rep. Jonathan Sy-Alvarado said there is a need to disseminate information about the different benefits that national athletes are entitled to receive under the law.
“Marami pa po ang di nakakaalam sa mga benepisyo na dapat nakukuha ng ating mga atleta,” he said. “Hindi simple ang makuha ang gold medal na ito. Higit sa premyo na nakuha o yung kasikatan, yung glory ng ating bansa.”
(A lot of people are not familiar with the benefits that should be given to our athletes. Getting this gold medal is not a simple thing to do. Aside from the prize and popularity, our athletes give glory to our country.)
Aside from discounts, R.A No. 10699 entitles national athletes and coaches to benefits such as free medical consultations, health insurance, a social security program, PHILHEALTH coverage, and more.
Citing the hard work and sacrifices of the country’s athletes, Cayetano thanked Diaz and her fellow athletes for inspiring Filipinos, aspiring athletes, and giving the country hope amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Kahit anong hirap, walang susuko. Walang bibitaw. The harder life is, the more that we pray,” he said.
(Regardless of the hardship, they refuse to surrender. They refuse to let go.)
The former Speaker also offered to extend his Sari-Saring Pag-Asa program to Zamboanga City, Diaz’s hometown, and vowed to distribute P3,500 each to around 1,000 sari-sari stores in the city.
“Pag binigyan naming ng P3,500, minsan yung P1,000, ginagamit nila sa mga panggastos. Yung P2,500, pangrestock ng kanilang (sari-sari store),” Cayetano said.
(Out the P3,500 that we usually give, beneficiaries tend to use P1,000 for their daily expenses. They use the remaining P2,500 to restock their sari-sari stores.)####