MANILA, December 14, 2005 
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Filipino medallists in the just-concluded 23rd Southeast Asian Games won’t have to wait any longer before they get their cash incentives as provided by government through Republic Act 9064.

The cash incentives, amounting almost P22 million, will be released before Christmas day, according to Philippine Sports Commission chairman William "Butch" Ramirez.

"Based on history, cash incentives have always been released after December. Now with the euphoria (following the SEAG success), we will try to make sure they are released before Christmas," said Ramirez.

Under RA 9064, a gold medal in the SEA Games is worth P100,000, silver P50,000 and bronze P10,000. A bigger package is provided for medallists in the Asian Games or the Olympics.

The Philippines won 113 gold medals in the recent SEA Games and emerged overall champion for the first time since it joined the event in 1977. It also won 86 silver and 92 bronze medals.

Ramirez has already signed the incentive package, which is close to P22 million and is set to present it to chairman Efraim Genuino of the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp. or Pagcor.

"As the law requires, we have to submit the approved amount to Pagcor. And if the chairman says it will be released next week then we will announce it," added the PSC chief.

The cash incentives are entirely different from the all-expenses paid trip to Hong Kong as promised by First Gentleman Mike Arroyo to all gold medallists in individual or team events.

Swimmer Miguel Molina stands to receive the biggest incentive of P350,000 for winning three gold medals and a silver.

Diver Sheila Mae Perez, billiards player Alex Pagulayan and rower Benjie Tolentino also won three gold medals each but will receive less since part of their victories came in doubles or team events. Perez will receive P250,000, Pagulayan P225,000 and Tolentino P200,000.

Coaches will also have their own share of incentives as provided under the law.

Ramirez, however, clarified that some adjustments were made as far as team events are concerned.

Taking a new role in Fil-Am SPORT LANG TAYO By Tommy Manotoc The Philippine Star 12/14/2005

Baguio has by far been on the top of my list when it comes to favorite destinations away from Manila. Perhaps it’s because it is in this little town that I spent all of my summer vacations with my family as a child.

As I made a trip up last week for the Fil-Am golf tournament, wonderful memories came back to me so vividly. The Baguio Country Club, Camp John Hay Club, the old favorite restaurants, the cool mountain air, and even the scent of the pine trees–though not as distinct as in my childhood days–brought back memories of this beautiful place.

As I got older and played for the Canlubang golf team, I always looked forward to our team’s participation in the Fil-Am golf tournament. The venues are always the Baguio Country Club and John Hay Golf Club. I still enjoy myself every time I play them despite the fact that they have gone through major facelifts and no longer resemble what they looked like in the past.

As I saw familiar faces – like those of old caddies I knew, I was assured that the feeling of warmth for certain people and places in our life actually stays with us forever.

However, this year’s Fil-Am was quite a different experience for me. Though there have been years when our captain refrained from sending a team for very valid reasons, whenever they did, I was always in the line-up. This was the first year I chose not to participate in the event to give a chance for other players with potential to gain exposure and experience. And believe you me, it was one of the most enjoyable times I have had in Baguio for this yearly tournament.

I found myself truly enjoying every moment of being part of the gallery. I was able to watch the boys struggle through every putt made or missed. I stood as a witness and shared their joy every time a good shot was executed or struggled with them as they tried to recover from a previous bad hole.

Save for the new team members who are part of the training pool of the National Caddies Training Program and who joined the team only this year, I practically saw these guys grow up! You can say that most of them are actually young enough to be my sons.

As for the newest members of the team — whom I met less than a year ago but got to see them play weekly in Calatagan — I must say that they truly made me proud.

Being first timers in a team event, they surprisingly held their own.

It certainly matters how you play on a day-to-day basis, but the true test of your mettle is when you play in a major tournament as part of a team. The pressure on every member to contribute to the team’s daily score is indescribable.

Both our teams swept the championship for the second year in a row.

And believe me when I tell you that this could possibly just the beginning.

* * *

Incidentally, during my stay there last week, I discovered another reason to return next year. You must try the Japanese restaurant at the BCC where the food and service are more than exceptional.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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