TEAM Philippines chef de mission Ramon Fernandez is optimistic that the country will hit its goal of finishing third overall in the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“We are halfway through the Games, and we are in the top three of the medal standings, thank God. We are well within our target of finishing at least third overall. We just have to maintain our performance until the end,” Fernandez said on Tuesday.
At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, the Philippines was in third place with 31 golds, 345 silvers and 44 bronzes and within striking distance of second place Thailand (36-38-59).
Host Vietnam remained on the lead with a 91-57-58 haul and Singapore was in fourth place with a 26-29-31 tally.
Dancesports collected four gold medals on Monday with the pair of Jean Mischa Aranar and Ana Nualla, completing a golden treble in tango, Viennese waltz, and all final dance standards and the pair of Mark Jayson Gayon and Mary Joy Renigen topping the standard slow foxtrot at the Long Bien Gymnasium.
World gymnastics champion Carlos Edriel Yulo, on the other hand, emerged as the country's top individual athlete after winning five golds and a silver at the Quan Ngua Sports Palace.
Also sharing the limelight late Monday was swimmer Chloe Isleta.
Isleta ended the 29-year gold medal drought of Filipino female swimmers at the My Dinh Water Sports Palace.
Isleta, 24, ruled the women's 200-meter backstroke event with a time of 2 minutes and 18.60 seconds.
The last Filipina swimmer to win a gold in the SEAG was Akiko Thompson, who ruled the 100 and 200-meter backstroke events in the 1993 SEA Games.
“We still have several sports where our athletes can win medals, and hopefully they can deliver,” Fernandez said, who is also a commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and has been in the Vietnamese capital since May 1 to oversee the needs of the Philippine delegation.
Meanwhile, cash incentives for medal-performing athletes will flow from the coffers of the PSC after the SEA Games.
With at least 30 gold medals for Team Philippines on the halfway mark of the 11-nation biennial meet, the PSC will be shelling out cash bonuses as provided for by the law under Republic Act 10699.
Otherwise known as the “National Athletes and Coaches Incentives and Benefits Act,” the law rewards a Filipino athlete P300,000 for every individual gold medal won while the value of a silver and bronze are P150,000 and P60,000, respectively.
“I congratulate our athletes for a job well done. We'll be expecting more medals to be won by Team Philippines in the coming days,” PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez said.
But the cash windfall from the government isn't the only source1 of monetary incentives for medal-winning athletes.
By tradition in the Duterte administration, President Rodrigo Duterte awards the cash bonuses in Malacañang and hands out additional monetary rewards by matching the incentives received by the athletes.
“Knowing the President, it's his style to give additional cash bonuses aside from the incentives provided for by the law once the athletes visit him in Malacañang,” Ramirez said.
Also based on the law, coaches of podium finishers will get 50 percent of the amount of cash bonuses their athletes received.
For team cash incentives, a team of four or less will receive the equivalent of the corresponding individual medal they had won while each member of a team with five members or more are entitled to 25 percent of the individual medal's worth.
Medal winners who surpassed existing Philippine records, SEAG standards or records in any measurable international competition can likewise receive cash incentives as determined by the PSC.
Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net