Benguet Rep. Eric Yap has filed House Bill 5160 that seeks to extend retirement, health care, and death benefits to professional Filipino athletes who won in international events or other international games.
Under the proposal, retirement benefits will be extended to former world champions upon reaching the age of 50.
World champions in individual events will receive a lifetime monthly pension of P15,000, while champions in team events will have a lifetime monthly pension of P10,000.
The proposal also states all professional Filipino athletes, upon winning in any international competition, shall be covered by the PhilHealth. The athlete will be covered by the same program upon reaching the age of 50, subject to existing rules and regulations.
In case of hospitalization of a professional Filipino athlete, any amount in excess of the PHIC benefit shall be shouldered by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office under its individual medical assistance program.
In case of death, primary beneficiaries of the retired world champion will be entitled to P50,000 financial assistance.
Yap said sports has been an inherent part of the Filipino culture and through the years, sports conciliates differences and emboldens dialogue, bringing individuals and communities together.
“In Benguet, we value our athletes as icons and inspiration for us to be at our best. Even before they become known internationally by their achievements, we have already recognized our very own athletes by their hard work and determination. During competitions, we essentially root for them to successfully overcome the challenges and secure victory in their respective fields,” Yap said.
He cited the famed Team Lakay, a mixed martial arts group based in La Trinidad, Benguet whose life motto, “Champions are not born, they are made,” has become the adage for aspiring athletes pursuing their lifelong dream of becoming champions in their respective fields.
“Before they excel and garner awards, our athletes make a multitude of sacrifices during their training to be where they are now. Having witnessed how members of Team Lakay constantly rose above their struggles in the sport, our kakailyan in the province celebrate them as athletic heroes,” Yap added.
He said the bill is in recognition of the honor and prestige brought by athletes to our country. – Harley F. Palangchao