June 21, 2024

An official of the Philippine Sports Commission told local government units in the Cordillera to be ready with their incentives, as many local athletes from the highland are shining on the international sports stage.

In his speech during the inaugural Benguet CARES (Cordillera Athletic Recognition for Excellence in Sports) award, Manuel Bitog, acting chief of the sports facility’s division, has also challenged the LGUs and officials to provide better incentives to athletes, who have worked hard to put the country in the world map.

“Many local athletes are winning from different sports associations, and there are 56 sports associations in the country. Sooner or later, you should be prepared for your incentives,” Bitog said.  

Aside from the incentives of local athletes under their respective athletes’ incentive ordinances, LGUs must also ensure there should be other sources of incentives outside the coffers of the government. 

Bitog, who hails from Tadiangan, Tuba, received the Benguet CARES “Executive of the Year” award for his assistance to the region’s sports development programs through the years.  

“I had goose pimples seeing young athletes receiving their awards. It shows that there is improvement of the sports in our region,” he said, referring to young athletes that are recipients of the award including gradeschoolers and taekwondo achievers Trisha Lobbonan and Khyla Kreanzzel Guinto.

He said when he started in the PSC in 2004, they began developing the combative sports in the region, starting with only boxing, Muay Thai, wushu, wrestling, and taekwondo.

Bitog, who handles the incentives of national athletes, also reminded the Cordillera-based athletes who are members of the national squads to always comply with the requirements to prevent the delay in the release of their incentives. – Ofelia C. Empian