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Tax-exempt athlete bill seen likely to pass

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A LEGISLATOR is confident that a bill seeking to make monetary donations and rewards given to international athletes will pass, in the wake of the Philippines’ successful Olympic campaign in Tokyo.

Albay Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda said in a statement Saturday that he is positive that the measure will be approved by the House Committee on Ways and Means, which he chairs.

“We will do it on Monday. We will probably approve it, too since no one is opposed.”

House Bill No. 9891 or the Hidilyn Diaz Act of 2021 seeks to amend Section 4 of Republic Act (RA) No. 10699, the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act, to exempt rewards and bonuses granted to athletes and coaches who win international sport competitions from any tax, charges, or fees by any government agency. 

This would add to existing benefits already provided by RA 10699 for athletes and coaches in the national team, such as discounts and free medical and dental consultations in government hospitals. 

“It appears our laws were unable to anticipate the outpouring of material solidarity from different sectors of society for winning athletes and coaches,” Mr. Salceda said in his explanatory note. 

He has sought the consolidation of pending measures filed by Quezon City Rep. Precious H. Castelo and Senior Citizens Party-list Rep. Rodolfo M. Ordanes to serve as a substitute bill.

Meanwhile, Misamis Oriental Rep. Juliette T. Uy, vice-chair of the Committee of Appropriations, said Saturday that the most recent Olympic success, the silver medal won by boxer Carlo Paalam, will be “on the back of her mind” when considering sports-related matters during deliberations for the 2022 national budget.

“The country needs more sports research and many more graduates of sports college degrees and more masters and doctoral programs, so I will write to Commission on Higher Education and [the] Department of Science and Technology on how these can be accomplished through the 2022 national budget,” she said. — Russell Louis C. Ku