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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

May 10, 2023

Salute to Filipino athletes

A total of 905 athletes are representing the Philippines at the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games currently being held in Cambodia.

Our national athletes, who are competing with their counterparts from 10 other countries in 608 events in 38 sports, aim to surpass our fourth place finish in the previous SEA Games held in Vietnam, where the country won 52 gold medals, 70 silvers, and 105 bronzes for a total of 227 medals.

At the send-off ceremony for the Philippine delegation, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. emphasized the benefits of sports as being good for health, discipline, and camaraderie. The President also committed to providing support for Filipino athletes as well as to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to further sports development in the country.

Sports play a significant role in nation-building. It fosters unity and nationalism. It uplifts national pride whenever a Filipino wins an international sporting event. We felt immense joy and pride when Hidilyn Diaz brought home the Philippines’ first Olympic gold; and that also inspired many Filipino athletes and aspiring athletes to work hard so they can also bring honor to our nation.

Sporting events can also be avenues to promote national advocacy. During the opening parade of the 32nd SEA Games, the Philippines fielded an all-female delegation. According to POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, it was a tribute to women in sports and to the gender equality program of the International Olympic Committee.

In the past years, we have seen how the government’s support, backed by further support from the private sector, brings out the best in our athletes, who must regularly train to continuously improve and be among the best in the world.

Senator Bong Go, an avid supporter of athletes and sports development, filed a measure to ensure a more inclusive system of promoting promising Filipino athletes who possess potential in various fields of sports.

His Senate Bill (SB) No. 423, or the proposed Philippine National Games (PNG) Act of 2022, aims to give athletes an equal opportunity of becoming future contenders in international sporting competitions primarily by promoting grassroots sports development.

The proposed measure will encourage all local government officials to promote the development of sports in the countryside; serve as a venue for the national sports associations in promoting their respective sports at the grassroots level; and widen the base for talent identification, selection, and recruitment of athletes that shall constitute the national pool to be trained for international sports competitions.

With the improving support that our athletes are getting from both the government and private sector, we are certain to see more Filipino athletes shine in the international stage.

We wish all our Filipino athletes at the SEA Games the best as they compete for the country’s pride and glory.

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