Triumphant athletes set to call on Duterte

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    MEMBERS of Team Philippines will call on President Duterte on Dec. 18 at Malacanang during the presentation of incentives to all medal winners in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

    Under Republic Act 10699, SEA Games gold medal winners will receive P300,000, silver medalists P150,000 and bronze winners P60,000.

    The President is expected to give additional incentives of P250,000 for gold, P150,000 for silver and P100,000 for bronze medalists.

    The Philippine Olympic Committee has also promised to award P300,000 for each gold medal won.

    PSC chairman Butch Ramirez bared this yesterday when members of the national surfing team called on him yesterday 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, referring to Team Philippines successful campaign, a repeat of its 2005 SEA Games overall win.

    Ramirez also stressed the legacies of the games, giving emphasis on the intangible but important things like character and values.

    “Our athletes give them varied choices of good role models to emulate,” Ramirez said as he patted surfer Roger Casugay, who made the headlines when he gave up his gold medal bid to save his Indonesian opponent from possible drowning.

    Ramirez said the PSC board approved a cash reward for Casugay to acknowledge his heroism and sacrifice.  Casugay went on to win a gold in the longboard event.

    The PSC spent over P1.5 billion to fund the training, exposure and preparation of the athletes. Ramirez said it was a gamble, hoping it would help push the athletes, who he said “are naturally talented and just really need some more support,” to give their best performance.

    This leap of faith paid off with the national team carting away the overall championship for the second time.

    “This is a result of all the sacrifice and hard work of everyone who pushed for chances at victory,” Ramirez said, adding “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.”