Miriam wants medal, P2M for Olympic gold winner

By Marvin Sy, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 21 2012 02:39 AM | Updated as of Aug 21 2012 07:08 PM

Manila, Philippines -  Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has proposed a medal of valor and a guaranteed payout of P2 million for all athletes who will win a gold medal in the Olympics and bring honor and prestige to the country.

The proposal was contained in Senate Bill 3248, which was Santiago’s counterpart to a similar measure filed by Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta party-list Rep. Mark Aeron Sambar.

The senator’s proposed bill was just one of the initiatives coming from the Senate to improve the country’s performance in the Olympic games and sports development in general.

Senate committee on amateur sports competitiveness chairman Antonio Trillanes IV has also filed a resolution calling for an inquiry into the poor performance of the country’s athletes in the Summer Olympics in London and the Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia.

While Trillanes’ initiative was meant to find solutions to the problems hounding the sports sector in the country, Santiago hopes to motivate the athletes to train even harder with a cash incentive.

“The state of Philippine sports was not always this bad. The Philippines placed second in the 1954 and 1958 Asian Games. In the 2010 Asian Games, however, the country only managed to come in at 19th place, one spot worse than its 18th place showing in 2006” Santiago said.

“There is still a lot of room for improvement in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The Philippines is a country with a population of 97 million (12th most populous in the world) but has been consistent in sending a very small delegation. The 1928 contingent in Amsterdam consisted of four athletes” she added.

Under Santiago’s bill, any athlete who wins a gold medal in the Olympics would be awarded an Olympic Gold Medal of Valor by the Philippine Sports Commission, which would be akin to the prestigious honor given by the State to deserving uniformed personnel.

A cash incentive of P2 million would also be given to the gold medalist, which would be on top of whatever other benefits they are entitled to under Republic Act 9064 or the Sports Incentives and Benefits Act of 2001.

"It is a small token but it is a symbol of the appreciation of the country for the honor and prestige that will go with the achievement," Santiago said.