by: Mickey Ingles (Credit for the cute mascot photo: 2017 KL SEA Games)
The 2017 South East Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is set to officially open in a couple of days. While the Philippines’ gold medal haul in recent editions of the SEA Games have mirrored Lebron James’ receding hairline, our SEA Games chef de mission Cynthia Carrion-Norton predicts we will get at least 50 gold medals this year. Critics have, well, critiqued the prediction, but hey, if LBJ’s hair can make a comeback, so can our 495-person national contingent.
So, what’s in store for our athletes who bring home gold in the SEA Games?
According to RA 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act (which we’ll just call the Athletes Incentives Act for short), the cash incentives for SEA Games medalists are as follows:
And that’s only for individual athletes like our archers (good luck, Aya!).
For team events like volleyball (good luck, Denden and Alyssa!), basketball, and football, each team member is set to receive just 25% of what individual medal winners get. So assuming we win gold in women’s volleyball, each player just gets P75,000.00. That’s not a lot.
For team events with less than five participants per team, the entire team will receive the same amount as the individual medal winners, to be divided equally among them. Again, if a team event with less than five participants wins gold (like the 4×100 relay), each will get P75,000.
And if you think that’s pretty low for athletes trying to make their living by representing the country, take a gander at what the Athletes Incentives Act has in store for our athletes with disabilities (AWDs) participating in the ASEAN Para Games. They get half of what their able-bodied counterparts get. HALF. If that doesn’t scream of an equal protection violation, then I don’t know what does. (I ranted more about this here.)
While we know our athletes will play and proudly represent the country—with or without cash incentives—it wouldn’t hurt to give them more, right?
Money matters aside though, we wish the best to our SEA Games athletes! Bring home 50 golds! Laban, Pilipinas!
Mickey Ingles is the editor-in-chief of Batas Sportiva. He still remembers when his elementary teacher brought his class to the Loyola Gym to watch a Sepak Takraw match for the 1991 SEA Games.