Ramirez salutes athletes ‘our heroes’
Joaquin M. Henson (Associated Press) - November 5, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — PSC chairman Butch Ramirez recently raised a hand of salute to recognize the efforts of the national athletes whom he called heroes in fighting to bring honor to the country in foreign competitions.

Ramirez likened the athletes and coaches to soldiers in their heroic crusade to instill national pride. “Patience and sacrifice are the elements of heroism,” he said. “Our athletes go through intense training to nurture confidence in handling the pressures of competition. When they compete abroad, they fight for our country.”

On the PSC’s part, Ramirez said the government agency will make sure the needs of athletes are attended to. He announced that within the first quarter of next year, the PSC will put out P150 Million for high performance equipment to upgrade the tools that athletes use in training. He also said the PSC will improve canteen and dormitory facilities for athletes and coaches.

“Tell us what you need,” said Ramirez. “We no longer have a feudal system. Sports is a powerful tool to unite our people. The PSC is mobilizing city and provincial sports councils to create a network for a strong grassroots development program. We’ve signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Education so we’re in line with our objective of promoting sports. We want children to play and have fun. We want sports to entertain the community, too. It’s everyone’s role to build a healthy, vibrant citizenry. It’s not just the job of government. Since we all pay taxes, we are part of government and should be involved in governance.”

Ramirez presided in the awarding of P26.3 Million in cash incentives to medalists of the 9th Asean Paragames in Kuala Lumpur and the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan during a gathering of athletes, coaches and sports officials at the PhilSports Arena last Oct. 27. A total of P1.5 Million went to the para-athletes who brought in 26 gold medals and P4 Million to the two Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games gold medalists, Annie Ramirez and Margarita Ochoa, at P2 Million each. 

“Take good care of your cash incentives,” Ramirez told the athletes. “Use the money to improve your lives and inspire other athletes. There is a corresponding responsibility when you get your bonus. Don’t waste your money. We want you to be responsible citizens of your community. Seventy percent of our people are poor. Inspire our people to live with dignity, work hard and excel.”

Ramirez challenged NSAs to step up efforts in discovering and developing talents to form a stronger core of elite athletes. He reminded the NSAs of their accountability in wisely employing the funds that the PSC releases for the elite program. “We’re a country with a population of 110 million,” he said. “We don’t always need to go abroad to find talent among Fil-foreigners. The talent is waiting to be discovered in our country.”

Of the P26.3 Million given out, medalists in the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games took the lion’s share of P23.6 Million with the silver medalists pocketing P14 Million and the bronze medalists P5.6 Million. For the Asean Paragames, the silver medalists bankrolled P750,000 and the bronze medalists P468,750.

At the Asian level, a gold medal is worth P2 Million, a silver P1 Million and a bronze P400,000. At the Asean Paragames level, a gold medal is worth P75,000, a silver P37,500 and a bronze, P15,000.

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