Duterte confers Order of Lapu-Lapu on SEA Games medalists
MANILA, Philippines — For capturing the overall title of the recent 30th Southeast Asian Games, Team Philippines was conferred the prestigious Order of Lapu-Lapu at the Malacanang Palace on Wednesday.
No less than President Rodrigo Duterte gave the honor to the 600 Filipino athletes from 56 sports whose collective efforts brought the country to the pinnacle of success in the biggest sportsfest of the Asean region.
The Order of Lapu-Lapu is conferred to those who accomplished extraordinary acts of service and exceptional contributions to the country.
“We are lucky to have a President who support us fully and has a big heart for our athletes,” said Team Philippines Chef de Mission and Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William Ramirez during the courtesy call where the medal-winning athletes received their cash incentives from the government.
Team Philippines collected a total of 149 gold medals on top of 117 silver and 121 bronze medals to rule the 11-nation meet.
Ramirez, who led the national team which was received warmly by Duterte at the Rizal Hall of Malacanang, said Filipino athletes triumphed due to the government’s nutritional support, higher allowances, refurbished facilities, new equipment apart from more opportunities for training and exposure.
“When we came in, the athletes received only P5,000 in meal allowance. Now on top of that, they also receive P25,000 worth of nutrition support monthly,” said Ramirez.
Taekwondo’s Pauline Lopez, Marck Espejo of volleyball and Jasmine Alkhaldi of swimming represented the gold, silver and bronze medalists when the athletes received the cash incentives from Duterte in a ceremonial awarding.
Joining them were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Philippine Olympic Committee president and Cavite representative Abraham Tolentino and Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee chairman and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
PSC Commissioners Charles Maxey, Arnold Agustin and Celia Kiram were likewise in attendance together with top officials of different national sports associations.
Under the law, gold medalists in the SEA Games receive P300,000 from the government through the PSC and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation while silver performers and bronze medalists get P150,000 and P60,000 respectively.
Duterte sweetened the pot by adding P250,000 more to the bonuses of gold medalists, P150,000 to silver winners and P100,000 to bronze performers.
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