By Kristel Satumbaga

Members of the Philippine Olympic Committee Athletes Commission aim for a stronger program on benefits for current and retired national players this year following their election.

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Nikko Huelgas (MB Photo / Ali Vicoy, File)

Triathlete Nikko Huelgas, who is part of the five-member commission, said the goal is to make these programs more visible, feasible and accessible so athletes can get the assistance they deserve.

Among those they are looking into is the stricter implementation of the athletes’ discount benefits of 20 percent from all establishments relative to the utilization of transportation services, hotel and other lodging establishments, restaurants and recreation centers, and purchase of medicine and sports equipment anywhere in the country.”

“Hopefully we can go nationwide wherein walang magtatanong kung ano ba tong benefit na to, where everybody knows this kahit sa probinsya,” said Huelgas.

Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Agatha Wong raised this issue last month after she had a hard time acquiring this privilege after dining in a restaurant with her family.

Huelgas said they are also looking into providing the athletes’ career program where they will help with the transition of the athletes after retirement.

“We wanna make sure that even if they’re gonna retire, we’re still part of their lives. And hindi sila mahihirapan to find careers outside of sports,” he said.

The commission also hopes to provide a more sound financial education and management on athletes where it would help them easily progress and handle money.

Huelgas said they are starting from scratch with the election of new members and are taking these positively in creating a better structure of programs for the athletes.

Also part of their program is to have an athletes’ forum where captains, coaches and representatives from the PSC, POC and hopefully the Senate, will convene to share their concerns and thoughts.

Elected in the commission aside from Huelgas were former Olympian Jessie Lacuna, Cheska Almonte of women’s softball, Samuel Morrison of taekwondo and Jake Letts of rugby.

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