HOUSE LEGISLATORS approved on second reading Tuesday a bill that would exempt from tax cash gifts and rewards for athletes and coaches participating in international competition.

House Bill No. 9990, also known as the Hidilyn Diaz Act, would amend Section 4 of Republic Act No. 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act, to exempt from tax, charges or fees any rewards and bonuses granted to athletes and coaches participating in international competition.

Prizes will also be made deductible against gross income in computing for the donor’s income tax. The tax relief is valid for the one year before an athlete competes in an international sports competition and three months after the event.

Donations made prior to the competition may only be used to fund training and competition-related expenses.

The tax exemptions are to be retroactive to June 1, 2021 to cover incentives given to athletes and coaches who participated in the Tokyo Olympics.

The measure was approved in the House Committee on Ways and Means on Aug. 9.

AAMBIS-OWA Party-list Rep. Sharon S. Garin, one of the principal authors of the measure, said that the bill was “long overdue” as recognition and support for Filipino athletes.

“We believe that support for training (outweighs) any incentive that may be received by athletes after winning a medal. It is in that path leading to their goals when they most need financial assistance,” she said in her sponsorship speech. — Russell Louis C. Ku