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NR # 3362B
Health care, retirement and death benefits for champion Filipino athletes sought A lawmaker is seeking the granting of health care, retirement and death benefits to professional Filipino athletes who have given the country honor, glory and pride by winning in world championship titles in international sports competitions or equally prestigious international championship games. The proposal is embodied in House Bill !"! or the proposed #$rofessional Filipino Athletes Health %are, &etirement and 'eath Benefits Act,( principally authored by &ep. )strellita #*ing( +uansing ,-st 'istrict, .ueva )ci/a0. +uansing said most sports are physical in nature and many Filipino athletes risk their lives to become champions. #1nlike other career professionals, the career lifespan of a professional athlete is short. 2any do not reach the age of 3" before retiring, giving way to the much stronger and younger athletes. +ome are forced to retire because they have passed the height of their careers, while others are /ust given bad breaks in life after winning a title,( +uansing said. +he cited the cases of former Filipino world bo4ing champions &olando .avarette, 5uisito )spinosa and 6. *orres who became comatose after a successful fight. #.avarette is reduced to the life of a pauper, dependent on charitable gestures from his countrymen for his e4istence and medical e4penses. 5uisito )spinosa is forced to fight mediocre fights /ust so he could survive living in the 1nited +tates. 6. *orres is fortunate that many generous persons contributed to shoulder some of the medical bills he incurred,( +uansing said. +uansing said these champions should not have to endure this, adding that at in their twilight years, the country, which they had given honor, glory and pride to, must be at least able to provide them with some kind of support. #7hile many of them are greatly compensated by the pri8e they win in these competitions, they deserve more than /ust a 9hero:s welcome,: crowd adulation and a pat on the back for a /ob well done,( +uansing said. 1nder the measure, professional Filipino athletes who immediately win in any international professional sports competition shall be covered by the .ational Health ;nsurance $rogram of the $hilippine Health ;nsurance %orporation ,$hilhealth0, through a special program sponsored by the *ames and Amusement Board ,*AB0, which will
provide the required local government premium counterpart to be directly remitted to the $hilhealth. 1pon reaching the age of fifty ,<"0, the athlete should become an honorary member of the program, sub/ect to e4isting rules and regulations of the $hilhealth. ;n case of hospitali8ation of the professional Filipino athlete in any hospital or clinic, any amount in e4cess of the $hilhealth benefit shall be shouldered by the $hilippine %harity +weepstakes =ffice ,$%+=0 under its ;ndividual 2edical Assistance $rogram ,;2A$0. The bill provides a lifetime monthly pension of at least $-<,""" for the individual winner, while those in team sports events shall be entitled to $-",""" for each team member. Athletes who are actively employed at the time they reach the age of <" and have availed of the retirement benefits under this Act may continue with such employment. The measure also provides death benefits in the amount of $ ",""" to cover funeral services>e4penses which shall be claimed by the primary beneficiaries of the athlete such as the legitimate spouse, legitimate or illegitimate children. The benefits under the bill shall retroact to all living professional Filipinos athletes who have won in any international professional sports competition. The ad/ustment in retirement benefits may be authori8ed sub/ect to the approval of the $resident. The *AB will be directed to promulgate and issue the implementing rules and regulation of the Act. , "0 lvc