Bill for athletes' insurance, benefits pushed

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 04 2013 06:56 PM | Updated as of Feb 05 2013 02:56 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Monday approved on the third and final reading Senate Bill 3322, which grants retirement, health care and death benefits to professional athletes who won championships in international professional sports competitions.

The measure proposes retirement benefits for athletes who have reached 50 years of age.

A lifetime monthly pension of P15,000 will be granted to professional athletes who win international titles in individual events, and P10,000 per team member for wins in team events.

If an athlete wins both in individual and team events, the retirement benefits for individual events shall apply.

“Many professional athletes have risked their health and sometimes their very lives for the nation. Their achievements have put the Philippines on the map. But our memories our short,” Sen. Koko Pimentel, sponsor of SB 3322, said in a statement.

“Something must be done to make concrete our country’s appreciation for the honor that our Filipino champion athletes have brought to the country,” he added.

Pimentel said the bill “seeks to provide more than lip service to professional athletes” who have dedicated their careers to the Philippines.

Aside from retirement benefits, the bill also proposes health insurance coverage for athletes under the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) through a special program sponsored by the Games and Amusement Board (GAB).

The athletes will be deemed honorary members of the program when they reach the retirement age of 50.

“In case of hospitalization of an athlete, any amount incurred in excess of the PhilHealth benefit shall be shouldered by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) under its Individual Medical Assistance Program, subject to compliance with existing rules and regulations of the PCSO,” Pimentel said.

Primary beneficiaries of a professional athlete will also be granted P30,000 to cover funeral services or other expenses upon his death.

Once the legislation is enacted into law, the benefits under the proposal will retroact to all living professional Filipino athletes, Pimentel said.