Besides the generous cash incentives from President Rodrigo Duterte and the Philippine Sports Commission, the medalists from the 30th Southeast Asian Games received the “Order of Lapu-Lapu” for winning the overall championship for the first time in 14 years.
The athletes trooped to meet Duterte in Malacañang Palace on Wednesday and receive their cash reward. They were also conferred the said award, which is given to those deserving of merit and recognition and to fully express the President’s appreciation of the Filipino people’s contributions to the success of the campaigns and programs of the Government.
Led by Chef de Mission and Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Butch Ramirez, the national team was warmly received by the President at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace.
Also in attendance were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea; Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino; PHISGOC chairman and speaker Alan Peter Cayetano; commissioners Celia Kiram, Arnold Agustin and Charles Maxey; along with the presidents and secretaries-general of the different national sports associations.
By law, a gold medal fetches PHP 300,000, silver 150,000 and bronze 60,000.
The total windfall reached PHP 79-million.
In a short program prior to the arrival of the President, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation turned over the check to fund the said incentives awarding consistent with RA 10699.
In his speech, Ramirez recognized the role of government in the success of the national team on its SEAG campaign saying, “We are lucky to have a President who supports us fully and has a big heart for our athletes.”
During Duterte’s term, the national athletes received nutritional support, higher allowances, refurbished facilities, new equipment, and more opportunities for training and exposures.
“When we came in, the athletes received on five-thousand pesos meal allowance. Now on top of that they also get twenty-five thousand worth of nutrition support monthly,” explained Ramirez, adding that these investments on the national team paid handsomely by the landslide win of Team Philippines in the SEAG.
Pauline Lopez of taekwondo, Marck Espejo of volleyball, and Jasmine Alkhaldi of swimming represented the gold, silver, and bronze medalists respectively and received the check from the president in a ceremonial awarding.