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Palace hails SEA Games participants for ‘wonderful job’

Malacañang on Thursday congratulated the athletes and coaches from 11 participating nations who competed at the 30th edition of Southeast Asian (SEA) Games which closed on Wednesday night here.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said all the SEA Games participants bring “pride and honor” to their respective nations.

“The Palace congratulates all the athletes and their support staff. All of you did a wonderful job giving pride and honor to your respective countries. Your very presence here alone means you are all winners,” Panelo said in a statement.

“We are happy in the Philippines not only because all participating countries secured medals but for the other reason that their athletes will be bringing wonderful and unforgettable memories with them to their homes. Indeed, #WeWinAsOne (hashtag We Win As One),” he added.

The Philippines hosted the 30th SEA Games held from November 30 to December 11.

The country’s hosting of this year’s regional sports meet bore fruit, as it formally clinched the overall championship during the conclusion of the competitions on Wednesday.

The Philippine delegation claimed the top spot, the latest since 2005 and the second in the history of SEA Games, after it snagged 149 gold, 117 silver, and 121 bronze, or a total of 387 medals in the 30th edition of regional sports competition.

The 149 gold medals were higher than the 112 recorded in 2005 when the Philippines also hosted the biennial regional multi-sport event.

Entire Filipinos proud of PH ‘excellent’ achievements

Panelo lauded the members of the Philippine contingent by exhausting all efforts to bag the overall championship.

In a separate statement late Wednesday night, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said the entire country is proud of the “excellent” achievements of Filipino athletes who did their best to secure the first spot in the 30th SEA Games.

“We would like to congratulate everyone for their participation in the Southeast Asian Games,” the PCOO chief said.

“We are also extending our praises to the Philippine delegation for claiming the overall championship of this edition of the SEA Games. You have shown that Filipinos are topnotch athletes and you have made us and all of our countrymen around the world proud of your excellent achievements,” he added.

Filipino athletes are expected to meet President Rodrigo Duterte who will honor and give them incentives after their success in the SEA Games.

Republic Act 10699 grants PHP300,000, PHP150,000, and PHP60,000 for SEA Games’ gold, silver, and bronze medalists, reaoectively.

Duterte vowed to provide additional cash for winning Filipino athletes, while the Philippine Olympic Committee also committed additional PHP300,000 for gold medalists.

Finishing second in SEA Games was Vietnam with 98 gold, 85 silver, and 105 bronze medals. It was followed by Thailand (92-103-123), Indonesia (72-84-111), Malaysia (55-58-71), and Singapore (53-46-68).

Rounding out the field were Myanmar (4-18-51), Cambodia (4-6-36), Brunei (2-5-6), Laos (1-5-28), and Timor Leste (0-1-5).

Andanar viewed the participating nations as “all winners” as they already made their respective citizens proud by exhibiting the “spirit of sportsmanship.”

“We congratulate as well the respective delegations of Asean member-states and Timor Leste for taking part in the SEA Games. We are confident that you have all made your countries proud. Truly, we have all shown that ‘We Win as One,’” he said.

The 11 participating countries competed in 530 events in 56 sports for this year’s edition of the regional sports meet.

The Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), with the help of volunteers, took charge of the preparations and execution of the country’s hosting of the 30th regional sports meet.

Andanar commended PHISGOC and volunteers for their hard work to ensure that the Philippines’ hosting would be “exemplary”.

“This would have not been possible, if not for the hard work done by PHISGOC, which has translated into the Games successes. Hence, we extend our deepest gratitude to the PHISGOC and also to all the volunteers that have made our hosting of the 30th SEA Games truly exemplary,” he said.

PHISGOC, chaired by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, earlier earned criticisms for logistical issues that had emerged prior to the formal opening of the SEA Games on November 30.

Duterte apologized over the alleged SEA Games blunders, and vowed to conduct an investigation into the incident.

The President, however, expressed confidence that Cayetano was not involved in corrupt activities, stressing that PHISGOC merely committed “unintentional” mistakes.

Despite these, Panelo said “high emotions, the broken records, the blood, sweat and tears of our athletes and their coaches” are worth remembering. (By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos)

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