ATHLETES' BENEFIT. National athletes like muay Thai artists Jenely Olsim and Islay Erika Bomogao, as well as national coaches, are entitled to 20 percent discounts from all establishments as provided for by Republic 10699. But most establishments are not aware of the existence of the law and deny athletes and coaches the discount they are entitled to. (PNA photo by Pigeon Lobien)

BAGUIO CITY – The city council here is set to pass an ordinance urging all establishments to follow the Republic Act 10699 or the “national athletes, coaches, trainers benefit and incentives Act of 2001” and give discounts accorded under said law.

Sangguniang Kabataan president and councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales made the proposal during the body's weekly meeting taking the cue of the incident of a national athlete who was denied the prescribed discount by a drug store.

The proposal came during the discussion on establishments denying elders and persons with disabilities (PWDs) of their benefit under the law because they do not have identification cards to show them being one.

“According to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the implementation of the law is minimal because the establishments do not know of its existence,” Orcales said on Wednesday.

Signed on Nov. 13, 2015, the act expanded the coverage of incentives granted to national athletes and coaches, which also repealed Republic Act No. 9064, or the “National Athletes, Coaches and Trainers Benefits and Incentives Act of 2001" or "Sports Benefits and Incentives Act of 2001."

Section 4 of the law provides that all national athletes and coaches be granted a “twenty percent (20%) discount from all establishments relative to the utilization of transportation services, hotels, and other lodging establishments, restaurants and recreation centers and purchase of medicine and sports equipment anywhere in the country for the actual and exclusive use or enjoyment of the national athlete and coach.”

The same discount is given “on admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses and concert halls, circuses, carnivals, and other similar places of culture, leisure, and amusement for the actual and exclusive use and enjoyment of the national athlete and coach.”

It provides that national athletes and coaches could enjoy “free medical and dental consultations in government hospitals and similar establishments anywhere in the country; Coverage in the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) through the sponsored program of the PSC.

They are also “Priority in existing livelihood programs being undertaken by various government agencies subject to the guidelines and qualifications by the implementing body; Priority in national housing programs, affordable ‘pabahay’ loans and other housing opportunities subject to the guidelines and qualifications set by the National Housing Authority (NHA) or the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF); and, Use of living quarters and training centers set up and maintained by the PSC for the exclusive use of national athletes while preparing and training for international competitions.”

During the session on Monday, Orcales admonished one of the drug store representatives, who was invited to the session, for denying the grant of a 20 percent discount on Sandi Menchie Abahan, Southeast Asian Games gold medalist for obstacle course race and long-distance runner.

Earlier, double SEAG gold medalist Agatha Wong was also denied a discount while purchasing medicine in a drug store in Manila despite showing her PSC issued identification card.

During the session, Orcales was tasked by the city council led by Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan to draft a measure that will inform all establishments of the benefits that should be accorded to the athletes.

The session also tackled the complaint of councilor Fred Bagbagen, who was almost denied by the same drug store, of his required discount when he showed his driver’s license instead of his senior citizen card issued by the Office of the Senior Citizen Association under the Office of City Social Welfare Development.

“It took me some time to talk with the pharmacist to give me the medicine I needed. At least I was given it but was admonished that I should not do the same in the future,” Bagbagen said.

Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda said under the implementing rules and regulations of RA 9994, any government-issued ID that indicate the person’s date of birth is acceptable in the absence of the senior citizen’s ID.

Councilor Arthur Alad-iw also took cue as he narrated his experience with the drug stores as PWD.

“Isn’t it obvious that I am a PWD with my two crutches,” said the two-term councilor, who added that “many PWDs suffer the same and are not vocal of their plight.”

The city council vowed to adopt measures to educate establishments of the rights of elderly and PWDs as well, the latter guided by RA 10754 or An Act Expanding The Benefits And Privileges Of Persons With Disability. (PNA)