MANILA – The competition was in May but cash incentives totaling PHP11.150 million from the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) through its dedicated partners came in as a mid-year bonus for the 417 athletes who clinched medals—individual and team—in the Vietnam 30th Southeast Asian Games.

“The medalists in Hanoi are in for a surprise,” said POC President, Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, on Thursday. “Most of these medalists may not know it yet, but once they check their LandBank accounts, they’ll find out about the bonuses from the POC.”

John Derick Farr was unaware that the POC—through Tolentino’s deputy secretary general for international events, Bones Floro—has already deposited his PHP10,000 bonus for the bronze medal he clinched in cycling’s men’s downhill.

“I haven’t check my bank account yet, but I’m thankful to the POC, especially Cong. Bambol, for the bonus,” said Farr, one of three cycling bronze medalists in the Vietnam SEA Games staged last May 12 to 23.

The MVP Sports Foundation of telco tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan, San Miguel Corp. president and CEO Ramon S. Ang ,and Charlie Gonzales’s Ulticon Builders Inc. were the major benefactors of the bonuses which the POC, under Tolentino, has given to medalist athletes for the second time.

National sports association presidents Tom Carrasco (triathlon) and Ting Ledesma (table tennis) thanked the POC for the bonuses, adding their medalist athletes would be in for a surprise.

“Kim [Mangrobang] and Fernando [Casares] have flown to the US to train and compete and on their behalf, we would like to thank the POC for the bonuses,” Carrasco said.

Mangrobang swept the women’s triathlon and duathlon gold medals in a span of less than 24 hours, while Casares topped men’s triathlon. Their individual gold medals were worth PHP100,000 each.

Ledesma said men’s doubles campaigners Richard Gonzales and John Russel Misal have yet to learn about the PHP30,000 POC bonus—for doubles, mixed relay and team of four or less members—for the silver medal they clinched in Vietnam.

“I’m sure they’ll be surprised and will be grateful to the POC,” Ledesma said.

Misal was as thankful, and so was boxing men’s middleweight gold medalist Eumir Felix Marcial.

“Thank you to POC and Cong. Tolentino for providing SEA Games medalists the bonus,” Misal said.

Marcial said: “We’re grateful to get additional incentives from the POC. It really inspires us to work and train harder.”

Philip Delarmino, gold winner in muay’s men’s 57 kg class, thanked Tolentino for exerting effort to give the athletes what they deserve.

“I am so thankful to our POC President, Abraham Tolentino, for the bonus to all medalists,” said 31-year-old Delarmino from Sacramento, California, on his way to Birmingham, Alabama, where he’ll be competing in the World Games set from July 15 to 17.

The Philippines finished fourth with 52 gold, 70 silver and 105 bronze medals for a strong fourth place finish behind Vietnam (205-125-116 gold-silver-bronze), Thailand (92-103-136) and Indonesia (69-91-81).

A total of 89 athletes earned gold medals for a total of P5.78 million in cash bonuses from the POC, 126 clinched silver medals for P3.35 million and 202 bagged bronze medals for P2.02 million.

The POC bonuses are on top of the law mandated cash incentives that medalist athletes in major international competitions receive from the government through the Philippine Sports Commission.

The bonuses were distributed through the LandBank accounts of the athletes. (PR)