BAGUIO CITY – The 40 Cordillerans who won medals in the 30th South East Asian Games in December last year and their coaches will finally get their PHP25,000 Christmas bonus as promised by Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez.
The money is available in their ATM cards on January 24, raising the morale of the athletes, some of who are still training for international events, while some elicited frowns because they will not be able to collect yet.
“It’s a big help for me at balik estyudante. May pang-allowance (It’s a big help for me because I am back as a student. There is allowance money),” said wushu sanda gold medalist Divine Wally on Thursday, who is back at the University of the Cordilleras (UC) where she is an education major in Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health (MAPEH).
“Masaya may pa-bonus para kay misis (Happy, there is a bonus for my wife),” said muay Thai waikru and taksa player Jearome Calica, who is a father of two young children.
“If there is then we can go have a cup of coffee,” wushu taolu bronze medalist Daniel Parantac said.
“Sana po meron [money] na talaga sa 24 (I hope that [money] is already there on [January] 24,” said boxing gold medalist and world champion Nesthy Petecio, who is wrapping up her training with Australian boxers for the Olympics qualifier in Wuhan, China on Feb. 3.
Arnisador Eza Rai Yalong, however, expressed disbelief upon learning of the news.
“Friday daw ata, (I guess it will be on Friday),” said the bronze medalist, who was stripped of her semi-finals victory an hour before the finals that raised howls among her teammates and coaches from the University of Baguio (UB).
But, while the said athletes are optimistic to get their bonuses on January 24, some are unhappy because they do not yet have the PSC issued ATM card.
“Awan pay ATM card mi. Ilaklakad da pay lang dakami ta maging national team (We still do not have an ATM card. They are still processing the papers for our recognition as national team members),” said kickboxing gold medalist Jean Claude Saclag, who won a gold medal along with Gina Iniong and Jerry Olsim.
“Paano na po kaming wala pang ATM,” said Helen Aclopen, who won a bronze medal in sambo as the UB alumni bemoaned the plight of the sambo squad which was formed only in June of last year and immediately sent to compete in Malaysia without any allowance.
"Sana ma-receive na rin yung allowance namin,” she added.
Aclopen said there are three of them --including Marianne Mariano and Nino Lucero Mondejar-- who need to be given monetary returns.
In an earlier statement, Ramirez apologized for the delay which he said was caused by their decision to withdraw the PSC’s remaining PHP400 million fund to help the SEAG Organizing Committee pay some of its broadcasting expenses.
The athletes, he said, will be receiving the cash incentives promised by President Rodrigo Duterte to all SEAG medalists during the athletes' party in December last year on February 3.
The Duterte bonus will see gold medal winners pocketing PHP250,000 for each gold, while silver and bronze medalists will get PHP150,000 and PHP100,000, respectively.
The SEAG medalists were also able to receive PHP300,00, PHP150,000, and PHP60,000 for a gold, silver, and bronze, aside from the incentives they will receive from Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation and Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
Dancesport two golds and silver medalist Stephanie Sabalo and partner Angelo Marquez are expected to receive PHP1 million for their performance. (PNA)