MANILA – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday lauded the Filipino athletes and coaches who participated in the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Hanoi, Vietnam from May 12 to 23.
The results of the Philippine contingent's participation in the SEA Games, be it "with or without medals," elated Duterte.
In a speech delivered at Malacañan Palace's Rizal Hall, Duterte thanked them for doing a "good job" in bringing pride and honor to the country.
Duterte said he is "very proud" of the Filipino athletes for their tedious preparations and dedication to excel in the regional sports competition.
"No other time that I feel so proud for my country because you are here. You did a good job, and I'm very happy with the result. It is not really winning but going there just to give the country an image. Maligaya ako na maraming medalya ang nakuha natin (I'm happy that we bagged many medals)," Duterte said in a speech delivered before the Filipino athletes.
The Philippines finished fourth in the medals race with 11 nations after bagging a total of 226 medals in the 31st SEA Games.
Filipino athletes were able to bring home around 52 gold, 70 silver and 105 bronze medals.
Duterte expressed appreciation for all the Filipino medalists and athletes' "record-breaking feats."
He said the athletes have proved that the limitations in training because of the Covid-19 pandemic are not a hindrance to showcasing their talents and giving their best.
"I deeply thank you for representing the country with resiliency, excellence, and sportsmanship and for bringing pride and honor to the Filipino amidst the challenges you had to face in this uncertain time," Duterte said.
During the event, Duterte awarded the athletes with cash bonanza.
Republic Act 10699 grants cash incentives worth PHP300,000, PHP150,000, and PHP60,000 for SEA Games’ gold, silver, and bronze medalists, respectively.
Duterte also conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu with the Rank of Kamagi on SEA Games medalists.
The Order of Lapu-Lapu, particularly the Rank of Kamagi, is conferred by the Philippine president in recognition of the exemplary service rendered by government officials and personnel of the government, as well as private individuals.
The recognition is given to individuals who actively participated in and contributed to an activity relating to a campaign or advocacy of the President and the Philippine government.
Meanwhile, Duterte also acknowledged the role of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the coaches in the success of the Filipino athletes at the 31st SEA Games.
"While we celebrate our accomplishments in this much-awaited sports event, let us also recognize the Philippine Sports Commission and all of the coaches for their unwavering support in ensuring the athletes were in their prime condition to compete at the 31st SEA Games. Your involvement in this feat is truly significant and worthy of commendation," he said.
Duterte urged the PSC and other sports bodies to continue extending full assistance to Filipino athletes to keep them motivated in "aiming for more victories in the future."
"As we unite our efforts to achieve real and lasting change in our society, it is my hope that even beyond my term, our athletes will continue to uphold the competence, discipline and commitment that we Filipinos are known all over the world," he said. (PNA)