December 5, 2022

There is a need to refine the provisions of the city ordinance that grants incentives to athletes earning medals for Baguio.
Councilors Benny Bomogao and Michael Lawana said there is a need to revisit Ordinance 20-2016 or the Sports Incentives Ordinance and make clearer the provision on who should receive incentives to avoid double interpretations.
The councilors made the suggestion to avoid a repeat of the case of three Baguio athletes who are yet to receive their incentives for winning medals during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
The ordinance grants incentives to athletes who represented Baguio in a regional, national, or international competition. It defines a Baguio-based athlete either as a resident of the city, enrolled in a school in the city, or a member of a sports team based in the city.
Twenty-eight of the 31 Baguio-based athletes who participated in the 2019 SEA Games already received their incentives.
City Accountant Antonio Tabin said the release of the three athletes’ honoraria was stalled because they have not yet submitted documents to prove that they are Baguio-based.
Aside from this, Tabin said the office’s interpretation of the ordinance is that those who should be given incentives are athletes who represented Baguio in international events.
In the case of the three athletes, Tabin said they represented the Philippines in the SEA Games, and not only Baguio City.
Lawana however said the provision must be interpreted to mean that any athlete is qualified for the city’s cash incentive whether he or she represented Baguio or the country.
Bomogao said to avoid double interpretation, it must be made absolute in the ordinance that every Baguio-based athlete is entitled to an incentive from the city government, regardless if they represented the city or the country in international competitions.
He added it must be clear that the athlete was allowed to represent Baguio.
Lawana asked Sports Coordinator Gaudencio Gonzales to look into the possibility of reactivating the City Sports Development Council, the body tasked to screen Baguio athletes.
“If an athlete is screened by the sports council then there will be no problem (on who allow them to represent Baguio),” he said.
Tabin and Gonzales appeared before the council upon the invitation of Councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales to shed light on the issue involving the three SEA Games participants who are yet to receive their honoraria.
Gonzales and City Accountant III Pedro Sawac, Jr. said the three athletes are not disqualified from receiving incentives.
They said the three just need to submit any of the needed documents – proof of residency in Baguio, school ID, or proof of membership in a Baguio-based sports team. – Jane B. Cadalig