Press Release
August 3, 2016


Our people have always been sport lovers whether it's basketball, boxing, volleyball or football. There's probably a Filipino out there who loves that sport. This is no less evident during the times the whole country used to stop and drop everything for the boxing bouts of our Pambansang Kamao who is now a proud colleague of ours, Senator Manny Pacquiao.

Mr. President, we anticipate the country will extend the same fervor, the same support to the 12 Filipino athletes who are on their way to the Rio Olympics--namely, swimmers Jasmine Alkhaldi and Jessie Lacuna; table tennis paddler Ian Lariba; golfer Miguel Luis Tabuena; long jumper Maristella Sunan; hurdler Eric Cray; marathon runner Mary Joy Tabal; weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia; boxers Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez; and taekwondo jin Kristie Alora.

These 12 shall represent the Philippines at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero from August 5 to 21, 2016. And that is why, with the resolution we are sponsoring, we wish to recognize and commend them for getting into the Olympics for the road they have faced was not in short of tough.

They are nothing short of world-class as well, Mr. President. Jasmine Alkhaldi holds the Philippine women's record in the 200-, 100-, and 50-meter freestyle and the 50-, and 100-meter butterfly events, while Jessie Lacuna has a total fifty one (51) gold medals with thirty five (35) national and sixteen (16) international titles, and registered a personal best of one minute, fifty point seventy three seconds (1:50.73) during the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.

Table tennis paddler Ian Lariba who will be the country's flag bearer for the 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony represented the country in various international table tennis competitions including the 2014 World Table Tennis Team Championships in Japan where she led the Philippines to a first-place victory.

Ranked 28th in the world, Marestella Sunang won gold in July 2016 at the Kazakhstan Open, setting a new Philippine record of 6.72 meters. Sunang participated in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics. Eric Cray on the other hand set a new national record in the 400-meter hurdles event while winning gold at the 2015 Southeast Asian Games, setting a time of forty nine point forty (49.40) seconds. Meanwhile, Mary Joy Tabal won silver in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games and represented the Philippines in the 2016 Boston Marathon.

Despite their achievements, we continue to overlook the significance of our athletes in nation building, providing them very little support or incentive to succeed. Of course, in the 16th Congress, we raised the incentives our national athletes receive. But we can definitely do more--especially in providing full institutional support and training for them.

I am happy to note that during President Duterte's send off for the Philippine Team to the 2016 Rio Olympics, he expressed his support through increasing the allowance of the athletes from $1000 to $3000 and of the officials from $3000 to $5000.

The Senate has been filing resolutions congratulating to various athletes in different international competitions. Perhaps in the future, we can do more than this. We need is systemic reform, including grass roots development, higher budgets, and long-term planning. Para hindi lang puro congratulations. We should offer our athletes more.

I congratulate our Pambansang Kamao, Senator Manny Pacquiao, for being the incoming chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports. Thank you, Mr. President!

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