|Photo from Ramon Fernandez|
This appears in rappler.com
Duterte sends-off RP delegation with words of encouragement & increased cash allowances
by rick olivares
What a send-off!
The Philippine delegation to the Rio Olympics not only received words of encouragement from new President Rodrigo Duterte but also increased allowances that drew cheers from the coaches and athletes alike.
According to the Philippine Sports Commission’s Ramon Fernandez who was present for the send-off, President Duterte, who received the coaches and athletes at the Rizal Hall of Malacanang Palace, promised that "he will find a way to increase the budget of the Philippine Sports Commission to support their country-wide grassroots programs that will identify talents to improve out standing in international competition."
Duterte, wearing the official jacket of the Philippine delegation, also exhorted the Filipino athletes "to do their best in their respective events and to represent the country with pride.” He also told them "not be afraid of the Zika virus.” Then he surprised the entire delegation by increasing the $1,000 allowance per athlete to $3,000 (or PhP 140, 184.00). Olympic coaches also received an increase from $3,000.00 to $5,000.00 allowance for the Summer Games (PhP 233, 640.00). The move had the coaches and athletes vociferously applauding the President’s gesture of support.
Said women’s table tennis representative Ian Lariba, “I am very thankful and privileged to be at the send-off with the Honorable president. It was an inspiration to hear the president share his experiences about sports as well as his passion for it. What stuck in my mind was what he said about not everyone being given this honor and we should make the most out of this opportunity. He also said that when we get there, to give it everything we have. As for the allowance increase, that was a huge morale booster for me and all of us. His words were really comforting.”
PSC Commissioner Fernandez also said that according to Philippine Olympic Committee President Jose Cojuangco Jr., “this is the first time a president sent-off a Philippine delegation. Maybe there was before but certainly not during the previous administration."
The members of the Philippine delegation to Brazil included Kirstie Alora (women’s taekwondo), Nestor Colonia (men’s weightlifting), Eric Cray (men’s 400-meter hurdles), Hidilyn Diaz (women’s weightlifting), Rogen Ladon (men's boxing), Ian Lariba (women's table tennis), Charly Suarez (men's boxing), Mary Joy Tabal (women's marathon), Miguel Tabuena (men’s golf), Marestella Torres-Sunang (women’s long jump).
The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics opens on Friday, August 5, with the traditional parade of athletes at the Maracaña Stadium in Rio De Janeiro and will close with a lavish ceremony in the evening of Sunday, August 21st at the same venue.