WHOEVER wins the first Olympic gold medal for the Philippines can retire comfortably at the peak of his or her career. Under Republic Act 10699, the Philippine Sports Commission will reward the gold medalist a cool P10 million.
But a few days ago, the MVP Sports Foundation threw in its hat and said it will add another P10 million, making the first Olympic gold medalist P20 million richer once he or she gets home.
That’s just from two benefactors -- the government and MVP -- and judging from what Hidilyn Diaz got when she won a silver medal in 2016, the first medal of any color since Onyok Velasco’s silver in Atlanta 1996, a lot of generous souls will be throwing in their rewards too.
Manny Pacquiao, for one. Ever generous, I won’t be surprised if Pacquiao will also hand P10 million of his own to whoever ends our gold medal drought in Tokyo. Lest we forget, at the height of promoters circling in on gold medal prospect Eumir Marcial, Pacquiao swooped in with a P10 million signing bonus and told the boxer to keep his focus on Tokyo.
A lot of local government units also got in the incentive-giving act in 2016, with some giving Diaz P100,000 or P200,000. I think one also gave her P500,000. So many got into the act that I think Diaz more than doubled the P5 million she got from the government as part of the Incentive Act. Aside from all the cash, I think she also got a brand new house and lot from a real estate company.
Now, just imagine what the gold medalist could rake in.
It might just prod some of our young boxers to consider fighting for the country anew since the Paris Olympics is just three years away. I don’t think some of our world champions in boxing earn P20 million a fight.
Of course, the incentive is just that, an incentive. We will all forget about it if we suffer yet another shutout in the Olympics. But this batch is promising and I hope, when the games start on July 23, 2021, we will have something to cheer on.
The country sure needs that experience to be cheering as one and not fight each other.
And unlike in previous Olympiads, our hope is no longer limited to boxing. We have a real shot at the gold in pole vault, gymnastics, weightlifting, golf and even skateboarding, in this year’s new event.
Who will bring home the golden egg? I hope one of them will or even two or three.