MANILA – Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William Ramirez acknowledged the vital role that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) played in the country's historic finish in the recently-concluded 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In a letter to the state-run gaming firm, Ramirez expressed his gratitude for the support that Pagcor continuously extends to the PSC, which he said helped the Philippine delegation come up with a triumphant campaign in the Games, highlighted by the country's first Olympic gold medal and a haul of two silvers and a bronze.
"Pagcor’s contributions funded the training and preparation of the Philippine team for the Olympics. With their help, our national athletes are able to show the world just how talented the Filipino athletes are," he said in a news release on Tuesday.
On Monday, the PSC formally released the Pagcor-funded cash incentives to the Olympics achievers during their courtesy visit on President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang.
Getting the lion’s share of the cash windfall was weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, who received a total of PHP15 million for winning the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal and setting a new Olympic and national record. Rewarded with PHP5 million each were silver-medalist boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, while another fighter, Eumir Marcial, received PHP2 million for his bronze medal finish.
Also given cash incentives were the athletes’ coaches and trainers, which is equivalent to 50 percent of their wards’ financial rewards.
Diaz’s trainer, Antonio Agustin Jr. received a total of PHP5 million for helping the weightlifter achieve the historic feat. Likewise, boxing coaches Elmer Pamisa, Nolito Velasco, Ronald Chavez and Reynaldo Galido received cash incentives from the state-run gaming firm.
Meanwhile, swimmer Luke Michael Gebbie and weightlifter Elreen Ann Ando also received PHP250,000 each for setting new national records.
The release of cash incentives to the triumphant Olympians is mandated by Republic Act 10699, otherwise known as the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act, which provides financial rewards to athletes and their coaches who win in major international sports competitions. Under the said law, the incentives shall come from Pagcor, chargeable against its National Sports Development Fund.
Pagcor Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo and officials of the PSC joined Duterte during the turnover of the cash incentives to the winning athletes and coaches.
Domingo said Pagcor takes great pride in being instrumental to the country’s triumphant campaign in the Tokyo Games with its long-standing support to national sports development programs.
“We will never tire in our effort to pump-in the necessary support to athletic development as we’re certain that more Filipino sports heroes will emerge in the future with ample financial backing,” she stated.
Being one of the main funding sources of the PSC, Pagcor remits a substantial portion of its revenues to the government sports agency to finance the country’s sports development programs and fuel the training of national athletes in their participation to international sports competitions.
From 2016 to June 2021 alone, the state-run gaming firm remitted a total of PHP7.37 billion to the PSC. Of this amount, PHP7.10 billion comprised the PSC share by virtue of Republic Act (RA) 6847.
When the country hosted the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019, Pagcor also donated PHP842.5 million to the government sports agency in 2019 for the rehabilitation of major sports facilities including the Rizal Memorial Coliseum and Ninoy Aquino Stadium inside the historic Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila as well as the Philsports Complex Multipurpose Arena in Pasig City. Said amount was on top of Pagcor’s regular remittances to PSC. (PR)