The Olympics is a place Filipinos could hear the cheers of their fellow countrymen on the international stage where the fiery spirit of the nation’s athletes battled with international sports superstars. Yet while all of these are nerve-wracking and heartwarming, it seems that there exist events that not many people may know or care about — The Paralympics.
The Paralympics is an avenue for physically disabled athletes to compete in a multi-sport event participated by other Paralympians worldwide. The Philippines sends its participants to the quadrennial sports events, which typically coincide with the Olympic games. With this, the Philippine Olympic Committee rewards the Filipino medalists of both international games with monetary prizes as recognition for their efforts in bringing the Philippine flag to the podium.
However, one noticeable thing is that the reward for the Filipino Olympic medalists is much higher than those with the Paralympic winners. Are Paralympians not deserving of equal reward as those of non-disabled winners?
In 2016, Josephine Medina bagged a bronze medal in table tennis singles class 8 from the Rio Paralympics 2016, which is the second time a Filipino Paralympian went home with a Medal. She received then 1 million pesos in recognition of this win, pursuant of the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.
The aforementioned law also states that Summer and Winter Olympic bronze medalists will receive 2 million pesos, 100% higher than the Paralympic and Youth Olympic medalists. Republic Act 10699 grants different cash incentives for Summer and Winter Olympic winners, compared to Paralympic and Youth Olympic medalists.
An Olympic gold medalist receives 10 million cash incentives, while a Paralympic gold medalist only receives 5 million pesos. Moreover, an Olympic silver medalist is granted 5 million pesos, double the 2.5 million pesos cash incentives for a Paralympic silver medalist.
The lawmakers are in their positions to protect the interest of all the people. Change must be endorsed to promote the equality of cash incentives for both Paralympians and Olympians. In this way, all of the clamors and cheers will be worth it; for more than medals, these underrated champions will receive equality and fairness.
A person’s inability must not be the basis of his worth. They go through the same extensive and strenuous training that an Olympian undergoes. The flowing sweat, the pouring tears, and the immense sacrifice of Paralympians are not in any way less than that of Olympians.
LAYOUT BY: Alexandra Briones
PHOTO SOURCE(S): The Atlantic