Team Philippines celebrate its astonishing success at the 30th Southeast Asian Games and look forward to December 18 when they meet President Rodrigo Duterte face to face in Malacanang during the incentives awarding for all winners.
Republic Act 10699 provides for cash incentives for winners of the SEA Games to receive P300,000, P150,000 and P60,000 respectively for gold, silver and bronze finishes.
Philippine Sports Commission Chairman and Team Philippines’ Chef de Mission, Butch Ramirez is all smiles as he broke the news yesterday, following a courtesy call by the Philippine surfing team at the PSC office in Manila.
“We were all hoping and praying for this, but it is still a sweet surprise now that it is actually happening. I am so proud of our athletes. All of them deserve our respect and love,” said Ramirez who stood as the father-figure for the delegation from preparation to competition.
Eighteen months prior to the hosting of the multi-sport event, PSC already planned out the preparations intended to improve our national team’s performance. Ramirez openly expressed that supporting our athletes may be our only way to duplicate the “Miracle of 2005 SEA Games” where the country bagged its first overall championship in the event with a total medal haul of 112 gold, 85 silver and 93 bronze medals. It was the first overall crown for the host Philippines in the biennial event.
Ramirez also mentioned the legacies of the games, giving emphasis on the intangible but important bequests like character and values that sports show the youth of the Southeast Asian region. “Our athletes give them varied choices of good role models to emulate.” Said Ramirez patting surfer Roger Casugay who made the headlines when he gave up his gold medal ride to save his Indonesian opponent.
With Casugay beside him, the PSC chief excitedly informed the team that the PSC board just approved a cash reward for Casugay to acknowledge his heroism and sacrifice. Casugay went on to win a gold in another event.
The PSC spent over P1.5 billion to fund the training, exposure and preparation requirements of the athletes. Ramirez remarked that it was a gamble they took, hoping that it would help push our athletes to give their best performance, who he said “are naturally talented and just really need some more support.”
This leap of faith paid off with the national team carting away the overall championship, last won in 2005 when Ramirez was also at the helm of the PSC during his first term and also the team’s Chef de Mission.
Part of this support to the national is the refurbishment of sports facilities under the care of the sports agency. “They deserve better venues to train and play in. The Games gave us the means to make these improvements possible,” explained Ramirez who never fail to acknowledge the big help the PAGCOR gave to fund the renovations.
The newly-refurbished Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila and the PhilSports Complex in Pasig became the home of football, gymnastics, weightlifting, taekwondo, soft tennis, lawn tennis and indoor volleyball tournaments.
“This is a result of all the sacrifice and hard work of everyone who pushed for chances at victory,” the PSC Chief shared adding that “this victory is very sweet given the many difficulties we had to face. This win proves that we can achieve a lot when we come together united as one team.”