RECOGNITION. Benguet Governor Melchor Diclas (4th from left, front) join athletes in a photo opportunity during the athletes' recognition on Monday (Jan. 16, 2023) at the provincial capitol. Denesia Esnara (7th from left, front) was among those awarded after winning two bronze medals in the ASEAN Paralympics in August 2022. She said government support allows them to pursue their sports and contributes to their physical well-being. (PNA photo by Liza T. Agoot)

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A paralympic powerlifter said government support allows them to pursue their chosen sport aside from boosting their physical health.

Malaki ang tulong ng gobyerno sa training, sa finances kasi nakakapag compete kami kahit sa ibang lugar (The financial support extended by the government is important because it allows us to compete even in other places)," Denesia Esnara said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency on Tuesday.

Esnara is a double bronze medalist in the powerlifting events of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Para Games 2022 held in Surakarta, Indonesia in August 2022, her most recent international competition.

She added that the transportation allowance provided by the government is a big help.

“When I was starting, I was inspired to see PWDs doing good and having strong bodies. I was really inspired by them, especially those in a wheelchair. (I went to) powerlifting kasi mas maganda kasi sa kin mas lalo lalakas ang katawan (I went to powerlifting which is the event that is most appropriate for me, making my body stronger)," Esnara said.

She said the support they receive comes from the local government unit of Benguet and the officials in their personal capacity, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), and the Philippine Sports Association of the Differently Able (PhilSpADA).

Denesia, who also works as a job order clerk at the La Trinidad municipal hall, said she receives incentives for winning in a national or international competition and a training allowance as a Philippine Paralympic team member.

"Ang allowance at incentives kapag nananalo sa competition na nakukuha namin sa gobyerno malaking tulong din sa pamilya namin (the allowance and incentives we receive after winning in a competition go a long way in helping our families)."

The provincial government of Benguet on Monday awarded athletes who brought home a medal in national and international sports competitions representing the province. The award came in a plaque of commendation and cash prizes.

A total of 33 athletes were recognized and were handed their incentives during the awarding where the local government released PHP124,500 as a cash incentive based on the ordinance.

Based on a 2018 ordinance, the provincial government gives PHP8,000, PHP5,000, and PHP3,000 for the gold, silver, and bronze medals in a national competition.

“The provincial government will continue to support the athletes even in small ways," said Governor Melchor Diclas in an interview.

He also urged the athletes to continue improving themselves and joining competitions.

Vice Governor Ericson Felipe, meanwhile, said they are waiting for a recommendation from the committee on sports for a possible amendment to the ordinance to be able to reflect the rise in costs. (PNA)