Rio Olympics: Show Me The Money

by: Mickey Ingles

The 2016 Rio Olympics is just around the corner! The Philippines doesn’t have the biggest contingent, but the whole country is gearing up to support the 12-athlete team who seeks glory for the motherland in the sunny shores of Rio de Janiero. We’re all ready to shout “Puso!” and “Tara, Pilipinas!” at our TV screens and pepper social media with #PinoyPride and #LabanPilipinas.

Moral support is good and all, but it doesn’t exactly bring food to the table and pay for rent. While a majority of athletes train under the heat or rain for a chance of a golden reign (rhyme alert!) for the love of country and the sport, it won’t exactly hurt to show them the money.

Thankfully, Philippine law grants benefits to our national athletes through Republic Act (RA) 10699 or the “National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.” The Athletes Incentives Act was signed into law last November 13, 2015 and amends a similar law passed in 2001—RA 9064. For purposes of this article, let’s call it the “Athletes Incentives Act” because NACBIA is a mouthful to say, and we’ll be focusing on athletes (a post on coaches is in the pipeline).

The Athletes Incentives Act provides certain benefits to national athletes. National athletes are Filipino citizens who are members of the national training pool and are accredited by both the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).[1] Also included are persons with disabilities—one of the key amendments from the RA 9064.[2]

So, what does the Athletes Incentives Act have in store for our noble Olympians?

Moolah. Lots of it.

Cash incentives await our Olympians who bring home medals from Rio. For individual sports, gold medalists take home P10,000,000, silver medalists get P5,000,000, and bronze medalists earn P2,000,000.[3] (As a side note, these cash incentives are available to national athletes in other international competitions as well, but to a lesser degree.)

For team sports with less than 5 participants per team, the team gets the same amounts to be divided equally among the athletes.[4] For competitions with more than 5 participants, each member gets 25% of the cash incentives.[5] For demonstration and exhibition sports events in the Olympics, the athlete likewise gets 25%.[6]

And for our athletes who seek higher education, a winning Olympian is also entitled to full tuition benefits from state colleges or universities.[7]

For our past Olympians who have yet to avail of the cash incentives from previous games, they have until around November 2018 to claim their benefits, or else the benefits will be considered waived.[8] For those who have already availed of the cash incentives from the RA 9064, they are deemed to have fully claimed their incentives.[9]

These cash incentives are arguably tax-exempt under the Tax Code,[10] but it would’ve been nice if a more definitive provision was inserted into the Athletes Incentives Act.

And the precious medals? Those are exempt from customs duties.[11]

A national athlete is also entitled to a number of benefits even if they don’t win. A few of these benefits are listed below:

  • 20% discount from hotels, transportation, restaurants, and recreation centers;[12]
  • 20% discount for purchases of medicine and sports equipment (get those Hyperdunks!);[13]
  • 20% discount on admission fees for cinemas, theaters, and other similar places of culture, leisure and amusement;[14]
  • Free medical and dental consultations in government hospitals and similar establishments anywhere in the country.[15]

To avail of these benefits though, the national athlete must be registered with the PSC and the POC, and present a valid ID provided by the PSC.[16]

While we wait for the Implementing Rules and Regulations from the PSC, the law is enforceable[17]—and in fact, the PSC has been disbursing the corresponding cash incentives to our Southeast Asian Games winners.

With that said, Batas Sportiva wishes our Filipino athletes the best of luck! #LabanPilipinas!

Mickey Ingles is the editor-in-chief of Batas Sportiva. If looking like a Hobbit were an Olympic sport, he probably would’ve qualified.

[1] RA 10699, Sec. 3 (c).

[2] Id.

[3] RA 10699, Sec. 8 (a).

[4] RA 10699, Sec. 8 (b).

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] RA 10699, Sec. 5.

[8] RA 10699, Sec. 13.

[9] RA 10699, Sec. 13.

[10] National Internal Revenue Code, Sec. 32 (b).

[11] Tariff and Customs Code, Section 105 (e).

[12] RA 10699, Sec. 4 (a).

[13] Id.

[14] RA 10699, Sec. 4 (b).

[15] RA 10699, Sec. 4 (c).

[16] RA 10699, Sec. 10.

[17] RA 10699, Sec. 14.


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