The first Filipina boxer to get a slot in the Olympics and two still hoping to get to the Tokyo Games that has been postponed by a year due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic will finally get their incentives from the city.
Councilor Levi Lloyd Orcales on Monday, January 5, persuaded his colleagues from the City Council to release the incentives of the three athletes which has been pending due to question of their residence.
Orcales during the regular city council session argued that that under a city ordinance passed in 2016 only requires one of three requirements to be classified as a city recognized athletes: a proof of residence from the barangay where an athlete stays, a college identification card or a recognition from the sports organization he or she belongs to.
“It is not and, but ab or so it will need only one of the three requirements to be eligible to get an incentive,” said the chair of the sports committee being the city’s Sangguniang Kabataan chair.
Orcales filed a motion seeking clarification on who should be recognized by the city as its athletes as this has become a contention when the city sports office approved 31 athletes who won medals in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Of these, incentives of 28 athletes has been released on two occasions – on October 22 for 19 athletes and nine on December 4 – with three athletes whose incentives were put on hold. These are boxers Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam. Magno, who qualified already for the Tokyo Olympics, won a silver in the SEAG, while Petecio and Paalam took home gold medals.
Under the city sports incentives ordinance, a gold medal winner is entitled to P30,000, while a silver and bronze are eligible to receive P20,000 and P10,000, respectively.
However, the city sports office said that the three athletes are ineligible because they are not city athletes.
The Iloilo born Magno has been in the city since 2008, when she was taken in as a member of the Philippine boxing team, while Petecio and Paalam followed suit.
“Andito na si ate nung 2008 at ako po noong 2012 para magsanay na magboxing at pumasok sa Guisad Valley National High School (My older sister has been here since 2008, and I joined her in 2012 to train supposedly for the boxing team and enrolled at the Guisad Valley National High School),” said Magno’s younger sister, Cheryl, who was a member of the University of Baguio Lady Cardinals team.
“Dito na rin bumoboto si ate, (My older sister votes here already),” added the former top shooting guard from UB, where the three boxers are also enrolled.
Petecio is back home in Davao City since September to train under her father and brother. Her father is a former national boxing team member. On Saturday, Petecio will undergo a three month training inside a bubble, the Inspire Sports Academy, in Calamba, Laguna along with 30 Olympics national athletes hopefuls.
Petecio will be joined by Paalam in the bubble as they have one more chance for Tokyo with the last qualifier that will be held in Paris, France, which has been postponed.
“They should now complete their requirements to be able to get their incentives,” Orcales told this writer through private message after the deliberation.
The delay was spurred by the question of residence of the athletes, some of them received incentives from their “original” local government unit.
“Some received money from their home town or province, so we did not include them in the release,” said Pedro Sawac of the City Accounting Office during the deliberation. Councilor Michael Lawana, the chair of barangay council and acting chair of the sports committee when the 2016 city council passed said ordinance.
“Those athletes were honored by the LGUs they come from but then those LGUs have no sports incentive ordinance unlike us,” said Lawana in mixed Filipino and English during the deliberation. He added that it was the behest of the local officials there.
Among these athletes are Bokod, Benguet born and siblings Jerry and Jenelyn Olsim and John Claude Claude Saclag and Jomar Balangui, who trace their roots from Kalinga.
The four were immediately summoned by their former LGUs and were rewarded for their efforts.
But the four has been residents of the city when their parents moved in. The four were part of the second group of athletes, nine all told, to receive their incentives early December.
“In fact, Saclag was unable to receive his incentive when he won a medal in 2014 in wushu,” councilor Joel Alangsab interjected, referring to the kickboxing gold medalist’s silver finish in the 2014 Asian Games.
Saclag, whose older sister Candace works at the legislative office, was not able to collect that incentive, which Alangsab said the athlete deserves.
Lawana said that it is now high time to revive the city sports council which will identify city recognized athletes who will not only represent the city in regional and national competitions but also must be provided with trainings and facilities.
The city sports council is chaired by the mayor with the city council sports chair as co-chairman. It will also have a media representative.
Orcales said that he will soon convene the city sports council in time for the passage of the city sports code which has passed second reading and must now be published prior to its third and final deliberation with the city council.