MANILA, Philippines -- The wait is over for national athletes and coaches.
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on Sunday announced that it has sent two of the three batches of booklets that allow national athletes and coaches to avail of a 20% discount.
This is pursuant to Republic Act 10699 or the "National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act".
"We are doing our best to deliver everything within this month even though there are lockdowns due to the pandemic and the limited workforce," said Manuel Bitog, Chief of Assistance and Coordination Division and head of the PSC frontline personnel.
"We are doing our best to comply with it as much as possible. This 3rd week of September, we should have sent the last batch," he added.
PSC produced the IDs and accompanying booklets for all qualified national team members. The Bureau of Internal Revenue's Revenue Resolution 13, series of 2020, prescribes the implementation and regulations of R.A. 10699 on discount privileges.
However, the Luzon-wide lockdown delayed the initial distribution efforts to national athletes and coaches.
"Karamihan kasi ng mga inilagay ng atleta ay addresses nila nung nandito pa sila sa RMSC (Rizal Memorial Sports Complex) dormitory at saka sa Philsports dormitory. That's why kinailangan naming kunin 'yung updated addresses nila," said Bitog, who is currently stationed in RMSC along with the sports arm's skeleton force.
The PSC sent off all the national athletes and coaches under its care earlier this year back to their respective hometowns and provinces to ensure their safety against the threat of COVID-19.
"We have been remedying it through coordinating with the different concerned NSAs (National Sports Associations) to contact athletes regarding their addresses and if their areas are serviceable to the courier," said Bitog.
"Sa ngayon, may 300 na lang na natitira as the last batch dahil hinihintay namin i-forward sa amin ang addresses nila," he added.
PSC Chairman William "Butch" Ramirez says the distribution of the IDs and the booklets will have a positive impact on the national athletes and coaches, particularly during the pandemic.
"We have always been supportive of our athletes and coaches and we hope this privilege helps in easing their burdens caused by COVID-19," said Ramirez.
Among the athletes who have already received their IDs and booklets are 2019 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships gold medalist Nesthy Petecio and Olympian Marathoner Mary Joy Tabal who have expressed their gratitude via their Facebook posts.
"Thank you PSC! Unexpected delivery! May 20% discount na ako nito," said Petecio.
"National Athlete privilege, excited to avail this! Thank you Philippine Sports Commission for making this possible," said Tabal.
Under the law, over a thousand members of the national training pool are to benefit from the 20% discount on transportation, hotels and restaurants, medicine purchases and leisure activities offered by business establishments all over the country.