The House Committee on Youth and Sports Development has OKed a new bill aiming to recognize the contributions of outstanding Filipino athletes and provide them with new privileges. 

The substitute measure, pushing for the establishment of an “Order of National Athletes” for ‘sports heroes,’ gained approval on Tuesday (September 21).

The new bill combines three proposed measures from Representatives Lawrence Fortun, Eddie Villanueva, Domingo Rivera, and Joy Myra Tambunting – who are all advocating for the acknowledgment of Filipino athletes’ positive impact on the country’s pride and honor. 

Under the measure, which they call “Bayaning Atletang Filipino Act,” the Order of National Athletes will be the highest honor an athlete can receive from the Philippine government.

Those given the award will be entitled to cash incentives, monthly life pension and medical and hospitalization benefits, life insurance, as well as a state funeral upon their death.

The title can also be given posthumously – to be granted to the awardee’s family and legal heirs.

Apart from this, the bill is also calling for the establishment of the following awards: 

  • “National Medal of Excellence in Sports”, for “outstanding individual and team achievements in international sports competitions”; 
  • The “Balangay Medal for Sportsmanship” for “heroic sportsmanship shown by athletes during international and local competitions exemplifying values of honesty, fairness, selflessness, sacrifice, amity, and goodwill.”
  • And the granting of the “Coaching Excellence Medal” for coaches.

The measure also plans to allocate Php 1 billion as an endowment fund for the athletes, which will be called the Hidylin Diaz Endowment Fund for Sports Heroes.” This will be made up of both national and private contributions and will be tax-free. 

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Image credit: House of Representatives Official Facebook Page