With Carlo Paalam receiving his Php400,000 check from the city government Thursday, Baguio has started to make good its promise to reward athletes who has fared well in international competitions and recognize the sacrifices made to attain a medal.
Paalam received his cash incentive as recognition of his silver performance in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics last August and the first ever athlete to get a reward that much.
“It all started with a PhP500 reward,” said Paul Rillorta of the City Sports Development Office.
The sports ordinance recognizing achievement of athletes is almost 27 years old and it does not distinguish if the athlete earned his or her medal in a regional, a national or an international competition, but it was a start.
It was the late councilor Narciso Padilla who started the trend of giving incentives when he was elected in 1992.
The reward has since grown to as much as PhP30,000 for an Asian or SouthEast Asian Games gold medal or any international competition.
Paalam last January was the recipient of that amount along with other SEAGames gold medalists like fellow Olympics silver medalist, Nesthy Petecio, who took the bus Thursday to get her reward.
But what he got Thursday morning was the biggest ever the city has given.
Petecio will receive a similar amount which she will get once she has to be bubbled for a week at the national boxing training center at the Baguio Teachers Camp.
“I’ll be jailed for a week,” said the ever funny Petecio on her Facebook page when she reported at Teacher Camp upon her arrival.
Three national boxers are the recipient of the biggest ever incentive given by the city. Paalam and Petecio have a PhP400,000 reward, while bronze medalist Eumir Marcial is set to get PhP300,000.
Their coaches will get half of their wards. Coach Reynaldo Galido received PhP200,000 for Petecio’s silver medal finish and received in behalf of coaches Elmer Pamisa and Nolito Velasco PhP200,000 and PhP150,000.
“Coach Rey presented an authorization letter from coaches Pamisa and Velasco to receive in their behalf their cash rewards,” said former national coach Glicerio Catholico, Jr.
All in all, the athletes and coaches received a total of P1.65 million, a substantial amount in the sizable cash rewards they received from the national government and private organizations and individuals.
Councilor and Youth Rep. Levy Lloyd Orcales said the amount is the city’s appreciation of the efforts made by the athletes.
“In a message to this writer, he said: “This is our way to show our deepest gratitude and support to sports, to our athletes and coaches.”
He added: “What the city has given is not enough for the sacrifices and dedication in their training to represent the country as well as our city.”
Orcales further said: “What they did is once in a lifetime, since this is the first time that we have Olympics medals.”
The reward, he said, will show that the government is supportive of them. And to motivate other athletes to continue developing their skills,…”
He added that it is “one good way to divert our youth and athletes from vices.”
Irish Magno was the fourth member of the Philippine boxing team in Tokyo but failed to reach the medal rounds. The four were honored by the city and their school University of Baguio last November 22.
The four also received scholarship as well as two more slots at the school, while UB president Javier Herminio Bautista gave them an undisclosed amount of money.
It is actually the second instance that local athletes brought home Olympics medal. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, wushu sanda fighters Mariane Mariano and Benjie River won bronze medals.
Mariano is now competing in sambo, where she won a bronze medal in the last SEAG, while Rivera is retired and is raising a family with a partner in Nueva Vizcaya. Both were from the University of the Cordilleras.
The first Olympian was Hector Begeo who saw action in the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympics, that wrre held in Seoul, Korea, Barcelona, Spain and Atlanta, Georgia, United States, in that order. The late judoka Jerry Dino joined the Mountain Province born Begeo in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics.