Teen archer Moreno, other winning PH athletes get P7.9M in gov’t cash prizes

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Filipino athletes, who won in major international competitions this year, and their coaches have received over P7.9 million in total cash incentives from the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corporation (Pagcor)

Pagcor said P2.5 million went to 16-year-old Luis Gabriel Moreno who clinched a gold medal in the archery competition during the 22nd Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China last August while P1 million went to Filipino-American cyclist Daniel Patrick Caluag for winning the country’s only gold medal in the BMX event of the 2014 Asian Games. Caluag’s trainer also received P500,000.

Meanwhile, a total of P5.4 million went to 15 Filipino athletes and their coaches who bagged gold, silver and bronze medals in the 17th Asian Games held in Incheon, Korea from September 19 to October 4.

One of the biggest winners in the 17th Asian Games was 26-year-old amateur boxer Charly Suarez, who received half a million pesos for bagging a silver medal.

“Iyon po ang paraan ko ng pagpa-pasalamat sa Panginoon na siyang nagbigay sa akin ng lakas at galing upang manalo sa Asian Games. Kailangan kong ibalik sa Kanya ang pagpa-pala dahil kung hindi sa Kanya ay hindi ako makapagbi-bigay ng karangalan sa ating bansa. Maraming salamat din sa Pagcor sa malaking biyaya na ito,” Suarez added.

The other Asian Games silver medalists who each received half a million pesos from Pagcor were wushu fighters Daniel Parantac and Jean Claude Saclag. Their respective coaches got P250,000 each.

The bronze medalists in their respective sports events also received P100,000 each from the agency like archer Paul Marton dela Cruz, boxers Mario Fernandez, Mark Anthony Barriga and Wilfredo Lopez, karatedo Mae Soriano, taekwondo jins Levita Ronna Ilao, Samuel Thomas Harper Morrison, Mary Anjelay Pelaez, Benjamin Keith Sembrano and Kirstie Elaine Alora, and wushu artist Francisco Solis. Their respective coaches were likewise rewarded with P50,000 each.

Pagcor president and chief operating officer Jorge Sarmiento said the cash incentives were meant to motivate the national athletes to train harder and compete on a higher level whenever they represent the country.

“Rewarding our national athletes after they emerge triumphant in any international event is not only recognizing them for what they have achieved but a demonstration of Pagcor’s sincere appreciation for the efforts they have exerted to carry the nation proudly on their shoulders,” Sarmiento said in a statement on Saturday.

The state gaming firm said the release of cash incentives was in compliance with Republic Act 9064, otherwise known as the Sports Benefits and Incentives Act of 2001. The law grants monetary rewards to Filipino athletes and their coaches who win in major sports events. Under the agency’s incumbent administration (from July 2010 to September 2014), Pagcor has released almost P50 million in cash incentives.

Apart from the monetary rewards, Sarmiento said Pagcor also provided funds to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) as mandated by Republic Act 6847, which created the commission to encourage and sustain the development of Philippine sports.

“From 1990 to September 2014, Pagcor has already remitted P9.92 billion to the PSC. Of this total amount, 27 percent or P2.69 billion was remitted by Pagcor to the PSC in only four years of the present PAGCOR management. This funding greatly aided in the training of our Pinoy athletes,” he said.

PSC Chairman Richie Garcia, meanwhile, cited Pagcor’s valuable assistance to the PSC in carrying out programs that benefit the Filipino athletes.

“We are very thankful for Pagcor’s untiring support. Our sports programs are up and running and our athletes are now more inspired to perform beyond their capacity as they know that their sacrifices are fully recognized and aptly rewarded by the government,” Garcia said.

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