HOUSE LEGISLATORS approved on third and final reading Tuesday a bill that would make cash gifts and rewards for athletes and coaches participating in international competitions tax-free.  

House Bill No. 9990, also known as the Hidilyn Diaz Act after the country’s first Olympic gold medalist, would amend Section 4 of Republic Act No. 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.  

Under the measure, prizes will also be made deductible against gross income for the donor’s income tax.   

The tax relief would be valid for 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 passed in the House Committee on Ways and Means on Aug. 9 and was approved Aug. 24 on second reading.   

House Speaker Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco said the passage of the bill “represent the token of gratitude and appreciation of Congress and the entire nation to Filipino athletes who have brought joy, pride and glory to the country.”  

The House of Representatives has already adopted resolutions to confer TheCongressional Medal of Excellence for Ms. Diaz and TheCongressional Medal of Distinction to boxers Nesthy A.Petecio, Carlo Paalam, and Eumir Felix D. Marcial. — Russell Louis C. Ku