Besides generous cash incentives from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and President Duterte, the national team was conferred the “Order of Lapu-Lapu” for winning the overall championship in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Almost 600 medalists from the SEA Games trooped to meet President Duterte in Malacañang on Wednesday to receive their cash rewards. But they got more as they were conferred the award that is given to individuals “deserving of merit and recognition, and to fully express the President’s appreciation of the Filipino people’s contributions to the success of the campaigns and programs of the government.”
Led by Team Philippines Chef de Mission and PSC Chairman William Ramirez, the national team, donning their tracksuits, was warmly received, by the President at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace.
Also in attendance were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee Chairman and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and PSC Commissioners Celia Kiram, Arnold Agustin and Charles Maxey.
Presidents and secretaries-general of the different national sports associations joined the athletes.
Under Republic Act 10699 of the Athletics and Coaches Incentives Act, a gold medal fetches P300,000, silver P150,000 and bronze P60,000. The incentives—drawn from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.—for athletes reached P79 million.
Ramirez recognized the role of government in the SEA Games success saying “we are lucky to have a President who support us fully and has a big heart for our athletes.”
“When we came in [the PSC], the athletes received a P5,000 meal allowance each. Now, on top of that, they also get P25,000 worth of nutrition support monthly,” said Ramirez, adding that these investments on the national team paid handsomely by the landslide win of Team Philippines in the SEA Games.
Pauline Lopez of taekwondo, Marck Jesus Espejo of volleyball and Jasmine Alkhaldi of swimming represented the gold, silver and bronze medalists, and received the check from the President in a ceremonial awarding.