MANILA — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the awarding rites on Wednesday, September 13, for Filipino athletes who won in the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Chief Executive gave cash incentives to athletes who won 24 gold medals, 33 silver, and 64 bronze at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall in Malacañan. The medalists received presidential citations for their feats in the biennial multi-sporting event.
In his speech, the President expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the athletes who have represented the Philippines in the recently concluded SEA Games.
“I congratulate you all, especially our medalists, for the accomplishment that has brought honor to the country. Through hard work and discipline, you have prevailed and made our nation proud,” President Duterte said.
The Chief Executive also congratulated Malaysia for successfully hosting the 29th Southeast Asian Games, noting that the event is a symbol of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ commitment to strengthen partnership and cooperation towards a common goal of a more prosperous and united region.
“I hope we will continue to foster this spirit of goodwill and sportsmanship,” he said.
As the Philippines will host the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019, the President urged the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to widen its scope and recruit nationwide.
Duterte directed the agency to look for athletes in non-traditional places and include members of the indigenous tribes and out-of-school youth.
“Let us give them a chance to hone their talent and live up to their fullest potentials,” he said.
At the same time, the President encouraged the country’s athletes to focus on improving their skills and to strive to do better in the next SEA Games.
Duterte assured that the government and the Filipino people will support the athletes “every step of the way.” “Continue to represent the best of what the Philippines has to offer, here and abroad. Make us proud again,” he said.