Palace praises Filipino athletes for SEA Games overall championship

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Palace praises Filipino athletes for SEA Games overall championship
This aerial view taken on December 11, 2019 shows illuminations displayed in the sky during the closing ceremony of the SEA Games (Southeast Asian Games) at the athletics stadium in Clark, Capas, Tarlac province, north of Manila.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has lauded Filipino athletes for propelling the Philippines to the overall championship of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and attributed the event's success to the hard work of the embattled Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC).

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said all athletes and their support staff did a "wonderful job" giving pride and honor to their respective countries.

"Congratulations as well to the members of the Philippine contingent for becoming the overall champion of this biennial regional sports event, with a record-breaking 149 gold medals, constituting a substantial part of the total 385 medals our country received," Panelo said in a statement issued Wednesday night.

"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," he added.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said all athletes are winners in their own right because they all "embody the spirit of sportsmanship" and "share the singular vision of being a one big regional community."

"We are also extending as 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," Andanar said in a statement.

Despite the glitches that initially hounded the organizers, Andanar said the Philippines was delighted to host the SEA Games, which featured a total of 56 games, the biggest number of events included in the athletic event to date.  

"This would not have been possible if not for the hard work done by the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee, 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," Andanar said.

PHISGOC, a private body led by House Speaker Alan Cayetano, has been criticized for the problems and controversies that confronted the Philippines' hosting of the SEA Games, including the billeting and transportation issues, and the building of a cauldron that costs at least P45 million.

Cayetano has denied allegations that the SEA Games funds have been misused and has welcomed plans by government agencies, including the Office of the President and the Office of the Ombudsman, to investigate the issue.

Panelo and Andanar said the Philippines is looking forward to the next SEA Games to be hosted by Vietnam in 2021

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