Benefits for retired sports champs pushed

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 August) – As tribute to the country’s sports heroes, South Cotabato (1st District) Rep. Pedro Acharon, Jr. is pushing for the passage of a proposed law that would grant retirement pension and several other benefits to all world champion athletes.

Acharon said he filed the proposed “Professional Filipino Athletes Retirement, Health Care and Death Benefits Act of 2010” in the House of Representatives to give due recognition to the sacrifices of professional athletes in giving glory and honor to the country.

He said the proposed measure specifically provides for a retirement pension of at least P15,000 a month to individual world champion athletes and P10,000 monthly for each member of world champion teams upon reaching the age of 55.

“Our athletes risk their lives and limbs while in pursuit of giving honor and glory to our country. Boxers most especially fight not thinking of the harm they might do to themselves, but only equipped with the conviction that their victory brings benefit to the country, as well,” Acharon said in a statement.

Under the proposed law, Acharon said champion athletes will immediately be given health insurance coverage under the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. upon winning in any international professional sports competition.

He said beneficiaries who would be hospitalized will get a financial support of P200,000 from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) through the Individual Assistance Program (IMAP).

When a beneficiary dies, he said their primary beneficiaries will receive a lump sum death benefit of P30,000 to cover the funeral services and other related expenses.

Acharon said all past living champions may avail of such benefits after proper compliance with the requirements that would be set by the Games and Amusement Board (GAB).

“It’s time that we give our champions more than a mere pat in the back or the adulation of the country. They deserve something tangible once the adulation has waned and gone, We have to take care of them even after they retire, which is a small means to pay in return for the prestige they’ve given the country,” he stressed.

Acharon said he is hoping the proposed law will get enough support from fellow lawmakers, including Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao.

The first termer congressman hails from this city, which has produced world champion boxers Pacquiao, Rolando Navarette, Nonito Donaire Jr. and Marvin Sonsona. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)