Palace to look into possible incentive for Onyok Velasco

Published August 5, 2021, 2:37 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The Duterte administration will look into the possibility of giving an incentive to Olympic silver medalist Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco to make up for the supposed botched government promise made in the past.

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a public address on August 2, 2021. (Malacañang)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said he would relay Velasco’s plight to President Duterte so the Olympic boxer could get finally get the incentive he deserved.

Roque admitted that there was neglect on the part of the past government that did not meet the promised reward to Velasco during his Olympic stint years ago.

Velasco recently admitted that he was not able to receive all the incentives pledged to him when he won silver during the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. The retired boxer, in an interview over GMA’s 24 Oras, expressed hoped that Hidilyn Diaz, who clinched the country’s first-ever Olympic gold during the weightlifting competition at the Tokyo Games, would not endure his fate after only a few incentives materialized.

Diaz earlier received lavish gifts and incentives worth millions following her Olympic triumph. Even President Duterte pledged P3 million and a house and lot for Diaz in recognition of her historic gold-medal performance.

“Ipagbibigay alam ko ito kay Presidente. Kung si Onyok Velasco nanalo ng silver sa ibang administrasyon na hindi nakakuha ng kanyang pabuya ay ipapakiusap natin kay Presidente ito baka naman mabigyan siya ng pabuya ngayon (I will relay the information to President Duterte. If Onyok Velasco won a silver medal during a different administration but did not get the incentive, we will request the President if he can be given an incentive today),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Thursday, August 5.

“Pero kapabayaan yan ng gobyerno na hindi nagbigay sa kanya ng pabuya (But that is neglect on the part of the government that did not give him the reward),” he added.

Roque said he would also check if the law giving cash incentive for athletes and coaches signed in 2001 could be applied to Velasco’s Olympic feat.

Under Republic Act No. 10699, or the “National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act,” gold medalists in the Olympics are entitled to P10 million, silver medalists will be given P5 million, and bronze holders get P2 million.

“Napakahirap kasi mangako doon sa mga bigong pangako doon sa nakalipas na administrasyon pero unan-una po iti-trace natin kung kailan ‘yung effectivity ng law na nagbibigay ng 10 million. Hindi ko po kabisado (It’s difficult to promise on the failed promise of the past administration but I will trace first the effectivity of the law giving P10 million. I did not memorize it),” he said.