MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. believes that sports is too valuable of a support to the society that it must be kept that way.
Speaking to the athletes who will compete in the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) during the formal send-off ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay on Monday, Marcos said even their wins alone give the Filipinos joy already.
"That is why it has to be kept as a very, very important part of our support to our society. And beyond that, ang ating mga champion, ang ating mga nag-uuwi ng medalya at saka tropeo ay talaga namang nagdadala ng kasiyahan at naipagmamalaki ng buong madla na kami ay Pilipino. ‘Yang mga ‘yan Pilipino ‘yan, mga champion namin ‘yan at ‘yan ang siguro ang pinakamahalaga na dinadala — nagdadala kayo ng dangal sa Pilipinas (our champions, those who bring home medals and trophies really bring joy and become pride of the Filipinos. Those Filipinos, those are our champions and that’s perhaps the most important thing – you bring honor to the Philippines)," Marcos said.
He added, "It’s good for your discipline. It’s good for your health. It’s good for your camaraderie. It’s good to mature young people."
This is the first time that Marcos attended an athletes’ send-off event since his overwhelming victory in the May 2022 presidential elections.
"It is my great, great pleasure to be able to be with you just very quickly. Pinilit kong makapunta rito dahil gusto kong makilala ‘yung mga champion (I made sure to come here because I want to meet our champions)," he said.
He expressed willingness to help the athletes and sports officials by any means possible.
"If there is anything more that this government can do, that this administration can do, that I personally can do, you please make sure you will tell me because we are all rooting for you," Marcos said.
He wished the Cambodia SEAG-bound athletes and officials “good luck”.
“At huwag niyong kakalimutan kapag talagang napagod na, nahirapan na, na-injure na nang kaunti, pakinggan niyo ulit ‘yung sigaw, maririnig niyo kami ‘yun, ‘yung mga kapwa niyo Pinoy, sinisigaw (Don’t forget when you’re tired, you’re having hard time, you’ve been injured, listen to those rooting for you, you’ll hear us your fellow Filipinos shouting): Go! Go! Go! Go!,” he said.
Over 800 Filipino athletes will compete in more than 600 events in 38 sports in Cambodia SEAG from May 5 to 17. (PNA)