TRIUMPHANT PARA ATHLETES. President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., in a post in his official Facebook page on Aug. 8, 2022, praises the Philippine athletes on their triumphant campaign in the recent 11th Asean Para Games (APG) in Surakata, Indonesia. The government allotted almost P12 million as incentive for Filipino medalists in the APG. (Photo courtesy of PBBM)

MANILA – Almost P12 million worth of cash incentives will be given out by the government through the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) to the medalists of the 11th Asean Para Games (APG) held in Solo, Indonesia from July 30 to August 6.

Eighty Filipino para-athletes from nine sports namely; archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, chess, judo, powerlifting, swimming, and table tennis were mission accomplished in APG winning a total of 104 medals - 28 gold, 30 silver, and 46 bronzes, good for a fifth-place finish overall in the 11-nation showpiece.

It was the best performance recorded by the country since the 2009 Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with 24 gold, 24 silver, and 26 bronzes.

Under Republic Act No. 10699 or the Expanded National Athletes and Coaches Incentives and Benefits Act, gold, silver, and bronze medalists from the Asean Para Games are entitled to receive cash incentives worth PHP150,000, PHP75,000, and PHP30,000, respectively.

“Our para-athletes showcased their grit and hunger for success in the APG. The support of the Filipino people provided through the PSC are truly reciprocated,” said PSC Officer-in-Charge and Executive Director, Guillermo Iroy Jr., in a news release on Thursday.

FIDE Master Sander Severino of the national para chess team, who has the distinction of being the most bemedalled Filipino athlete in the Games shall receive PHP500,000 cash reward after winning four gold and two silver medals in individual and team categories.

Para swimmers Angel Otom and Ariel Joseph Alegarbes will get PHP450,000 each for their medal winning performance of three golds apiece. Paralympian Ernie Gawilan gets PHP382,500 for his two gold, one silver and one bronze.

“We hope that this reward will give them an extra morale boost to keep reaching for their dreams. We thank all our national para-athletes for all their sacrifices and taking pride in raising our flag here and in their coming competitions,” Iroy said.

Deputy Chef de Mission Tricia Rana credited the support of the PSC in the success of the team. The PSC has given para-athletes equal benefits, allowances, and incentives with regular athletes, which they see as one of the biggest morale boosters.

“Aside from the determination of our athletes, plus nag-inspire sa kanila (inspired them) to give honor and to give back to what the government through the Philippine Sports Commission is giving them. Malaking tulong po talaga ang ginawa ng PSC (The PSC’s assistance made a big difference)," Rana said.

The PSC is already arranging a courtesy call to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

On Monday, Marcos praised the Philippine para-athlete delegation over their triumphant campaign in the APG.

“Binabati natin ang ating mga kampeon sa katatapos lamang na 2022 ASEAN Para Games na ginanap sa Indonesia (We congratulate our champions at the recently concluded 2022 Asean Para Games held in Indonesia),” Marcos said in his official Facebook page and other social media accounts.

He also shared a photo collage of Filipino athletes who raked in medals.

“Pinatunayan nila na hindi hadlang ang kanilang kapansanan upang makamit ang tagumpay. Ang kanilang katatagan at dedikasyon ay isang mabuting huwaran sa bawat kabataang nangangarap maging isang atleta (They proved that their disability is not an obstacle to achieve success. Their tenacity and dedication are a good example for every young aspiring athlete,” he added.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada hailed the Philippine contingent’s “perseverance, discipline, commitment to excellence, and sportsmanship” which are “exemplary values and attributes that the younger generation and all Filipinos could emulate,” according to Senate Resolution No. 110 that commended and congratulated the squad. (PNA)