President Rodrigo R. Duterte is considering giving additional incentives to Filipino athletes who will win medals in the 30th Southeast Asian Games on top of the cash bonanza provided by law, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said on November 27, 2019.
(Photo credit: 2019seagames.com)
Go, Duterte’s former aide, said he made the suggestion to give Filipino athletes additional incentives to “encourage” them to compete well amid controversies hounding the biennial multi-sport meet.
“I suggested to him na bigyan ng awards and incentives ang athletes natin nang maengganyo namang lumaban (to give our athletes additional awards and incentives to encourage them to fight) despite the controversies. I-boost natin ang kanilang morale para manalo tayo (Let’s boost their morale so that we have a better chance of winning),” Go said.
Go said the President has not mentioned the amount for the SEA Games medalists but at the same time expressed confidence that he would make good on his plan.
Go said the President is also considering giving the Order of Lapu-Lapu awards to winning athletes.
The Lapu-Lapu award is conferred on individuals who have significant contributions to the administration’s advocacies.
“I cannot speak on behalf of the President, pero nabanggit niya sa akin na bibigyan niya ng Lapu-Lapu award ang mga mananalo (but he mentioned wanting to give the winners a Lapu-Lapu award),” Go said.
In a meet-and-greet with the President in Malacañang on October 16, 2019, recent gold medalists Carlos Yulo (gymnastics), Ernest Obiena (pole vault), and Nesthy Petecio (boxing) received PHP1 million each while silver medalist Eumir Marcial (boxing) and bronze medalist Diaz (weightlifting) received PHP500,000 each.
The rewards were given in addition to what the five athletes received under the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act (Republic Act No. 10699).
Meanwhile, Go expressed hope that the Philippine Team would have an excellent performance and make it to the top three due to hometown advantage.
“Sixth place tayo noong nakaraang (We finished sixth place during the previous) Southeast Asian Games. Sana po ay maging top three naman tayo (I hope we make it to the top three), with hometown crowd,” Go said.
On November 25, 2019, Go said he would seek a probe into the alleged ill-prepared hosting of the SEA Games amid complaints from both local and foreign athletes over problems with accommodation, food, transport, facilities, among others.
Go said would seek an inquiry into the matter after the SEA Games.
“There is a right time for everything. Huwag tayong magturuan ngayon (Let’s stop the blame game for now). But after the games, papanagutin natin ang dapat na managot (those who should be held accountable will be held accountable),” Go said in a privilege speech.
Duterte himself is eyeing an investigation on allegations of corruption hounding SEA Games after being “displeased” by what he has been hearing about the even which will run from November 30 to December 11, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
Panelo said the probe will cover Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) Foundation Inc. chairman, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetan and the controversial PHP50-million cauldron. (Azer Parrocha, PNA)