Gatchalian hits Lina for medal fiasco (Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines – Rep. Wes Gatchalian has decried Bureau of Customs chief Bert Lina’s directive to impose duties on Jujeath Nagaowa’s championship belt, which was shipped from Florida after the Filipino fighter won the WIBA international light flyweight crown.

“Like our OFWs, the national athletes are our modern-day heroes who bring pride and honor to the Philippines through their exploits and must be given due respect,” said Gatchalian, chairperson of the Youth and Sports Development Committee of the House of Representatives.

“We should be instead nurturing and assisting our athletes to motivate them further to excel, instead of demoralizing them by the government’s lack of support,” added Gatchalian.

The House committee is currently batting for additional benefits and incentives for Filipino athletes and coaches through House Bill No. 5912. The measure seeks to increase cash awards to national athletes who win gold, silver and bronze medals in international competitions, as well as athletes with disabilities.

“It will go a long way towards helping to encourage our athletes to continue training, dream big and attain outstanding achievements with their government behind them every step of the way,” he said.