President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday vowed his continued support to the Philippine sports as he increased the cash bonus of gold winners in the recently-concluded Asian Games in Palembang-Jakarta to PHP8 million each.
“Let me assure our athletes that you have my continued support in developing yourselves as you pursue your respective discipline,” Duterte said in his speech during the awarding of presidential citation and incentives to Filipino Asian Games medalists at the Malacañang Palace.
Duterte congratulated not only the athletes but also their respective coaches for making “the entire country immensely proud”.
“It is my pleasure to welcome you back as Filipinos who have made the entire country immensely proud. I congratulate our athletes and their coaches for their efforts in bringing honor and recognition in the Philippines — to the Philippines in the field of sports,” Duterte said.
“We Filipinos have always been known for our competitive spirit, and this year, we did not fall short of showing our trait to our neighbors,” he added.
Duterte also commended the sports officials particularly from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for enabling the athletes to work hard and perform well during the 18th Asian Games held from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.
He said he had already directed the PSC to provide additional incentives to the medalists.
“It is my hope that this will not only further motivate our athletes to work harder, but also find resourcefulness, ways to maximize their potentials and inspire the rest of the youth to be part of an active and healthy citizenry,” Duterte said.
The President did not mention the additional amount but Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher “Bong” Go told the media that additional PHP1 million incentive from the Office of the President will be given to the gold winner.
Go said the additional PHP1 million is different from PHP1 million which Duterte had earlier promised to every gold medalist.
The President’s top aide said other medalists will also get additional cash bonus — silver medalist to receive PHP500,000 and the bronze medalist to get PHP200,000 more.
“Lahat ng medalists makakatanggap ng (All medalists will receive) additional incentives from PSC and OP,” Go added.
With the additional cash incentives from Duterte, every gold winner will now have a total of at least PHP8 million each, including PHP2 million as provided in Republic Act No. 10699, also known as “National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act”.
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), under the leadership of Ricky Vargas, has also awarded the gold winner with PHP2 million while Siklab Foundation head Dennis Uy and Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Lee Hiong Tan Wee gave PHP1 million to each gold medalist.
Golfer Yuka Saso is bound to get more as she also helped a three-women team win the team gold aside from winning individual gold in the women’s golf competition.
Saso’s teammates include Lois Kaye Go and Bianca Pagdanganan who also brought home bronze in women’s individual event.
Other gold medalists are Olympian weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz from Zamboanga and skateboarder Margielyn Didal from Cebu.
The silver medalists are boxers Rogen Ladon and juduka Kiyomi Watanabe.
Aside from Pagdanganan, other bronze winners include: Eumir Marcial and Carlo Paalam in boxing; Junna Tsukli (karate); Cherry May Regalado, Almohaidib Abad, Jefferson Loon, and Dines Dumaan (pencak silat); Daniel Caluag (BMX); Meggie Ochoa (jiujitsu); Pauline Lopez, Juvenile Faye Crisostomo, Rinna Babanto, Janna Oliva, Dustin Jacob Mella, Jordan Dominguez and Rodolfo Reyes Jr. (taekwondo); and, Divine Wally and Agatha Wong (wushu).
With its 4-2-15 silver-bronze-gold performance, the Philippines surpassed its 1-3-11 output in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Duterte spearheaded the send-off rites for the 272 Filipinos athletes in Malacañang on Aug. 13.