One of the best forms of gratitude the Philippine government could offer for its more than a thousand national athletes is the provision of discounts from various establishments—from hotels, restaurants, transportation, and pharmacies to sports shops and recreation centers all over the country.
But two years after the Bureau of Internal Revenue came out with Resolution 13 in 2020 granting the implementation and regulations of R.A. 10699 on coaches’ and athletes’ discount privileges, most establishments are not yet aware of this law which is under the Republic Act 10699 or the “National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.”
It was under the previous administration of Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez that the benefit IDs and booklets were distributed to athletes when the county was still under strict COVID-19 restrictions.
It was the best time, according to Ramirez, to provide comfort for athletes during the pandemic.
Since then, the PSC has been providing the benefit ID cards and booklet every year.
In the beginning, athletes complained some establishments did not recognize the privileges and refused to grant discounts.
Store frontliners are more familiar with giving discounts to senior citizens and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), whose combined numbers probably run by hundreds of thousands.
Why do some establishments rarely encounter discounts for athletes?
Because there are only a little more than a thousand qualified beneficiaries, those who are bona fide members of the national training pool from nearly 50 National Sports Associations under the Philippine Olympic Committee.
PSC chairman William Ramirez, who is on top of these efforts, believes in the positive implication of this progress to the national athletes and coaches, most especially in this time of the pandemic.
With the Cambodia Southeast Asian Games just around the corner, the athletes are training at least three times a day beginning with an early morning run, then drills just before lunch, and another in the afternoon.
Some elite and motivated athletes go the extra mile by adding their own extra routines early in the evening.
Our national athletes have given their youth as gift to our national flag.
“Noong kami ang naglalaro, talagang lahat ng sakripisyo, pagod, luha, pati pera ginugugol naming para lang manalo sa competitions and make our country proud,” relates former Asian long jump queen Elma Muros.
To maximize these discount benefits for our sports heroes, the PSC and other related agencies like the BIR and government media networks should make extra efforts to promote to the public and business establishments the benefit discounts for athletes and coaches.
National athletes and coaches should not be left to fend for themselves in enforcing the discount law.
More efforts and activities should be done to let business establishments get to know more about this law that has corresponding penalties for those who refuse to grant the discount benefits.
Penalties for erring establishments include a cash penalty of no less than a P50 thousand fine or imprisonment of six months for the first offense.
Repeat offenders face a fine of no less than 100,000 and or imprisonment of no less than two years.