Drilon to BIR: Awards, incentives to Hidilyn Diaz should be tax-exempt

Published July 29, 2021, 3:29 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday urged the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to affirm that all Olympic-related prizes, awards and incentives given to Gold Medalist Hidilyn Diaz should be tax exempt.

Drilon said that until now the rules with regard to the treatment of such perks received by winning Filipino athletes are not clear.

The minority leader said cash incentives pledged to Diaz, even by those from the private sector, should also be tax -exempt.

“All prizes, incentives and perks given to Hidilyn for winning the country’s first Olympic gold should be tax-exempt. However, the rules with regard to the treatment of prizes, awards and incentives received by Filipino athletes are not clear,” Drilon said.

“It is time for the BIR to issue a clarification and settle the matter in favor of the athletes. I urge the BIR to affirm the interpretation that all the awards and incentives should be tax exempt,” he added.

“It will be an incentive for our athletes to do even better and inspire future Hidilyn Diazes who will give honor and pride to the nation,” he pointed out.

Drilon noted that under Section 32 (B) (7) (d) of the National Internal Revenue Code, all prizes and awards granted to athletes in local and international sports competitions and tournaments–whether held in the Philippines or abroad and sanctioned by their national sports associations–are excluded from gross income tax.

Diaz, on Monday, July 26, made history for the Philippines by winning the gold medal in the women’s 55-kilogram weightlifting competition at the Tokyo Olympics, which finally ended the country’s quest for a gold medal in the quadrennial Olympics after 97 years.

For winning in the Olympics, the weightlifter is set to receive a P10-million cash incentive as stipulated under Republic Act No. 10699, which became law during the Aquino administration.

Aside from that, various private sectors have pledged to give cash incentives to her for her historic win.

But it is unclear whether BIR will tax her prizes, specifically the cash incentives pledged by the private sector.

The lawmaker said he hopes Diaz’s victory in the Tokyo Olympics will pave the way for more benefits, including augmentation of their allowances and additional incentives.

“Consistent with the objectives of RA 10699, we must promote excellence in sports by looking after the welfare of national athletes and coaches competing for the country and by providing benefits and incentives for national athletes and other athletes who win in international sports competitions and bring honor and recognition to the country,” Drilon said.

“Her resourcefulness and resolve to win are admirable. Hidilyn Diaz has shown us that with heart and perseverance, the Filipino can emerge triumphant. We can prevail and overcome,” he stressed.

Earlier, Senate President Vicente Sotto III directed the Senate Committee on Rules to look into the possibility of pushing tax exemptions for the rewards and gifts to be given to Diaz.