SEA Games medalists serve as PH Army frontliners, assist stranded individuals
MANILA, Philippines—After bringing pride for the Philippines in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, these athletes continued to serve their country during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the country’s gold medalists are now serving as the frontliners during the COVID-19 crisis as enlisted personnel of the Philippine Army, recently assisting locally stranded individuals (LSI) from the nearby Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Villamor Cunamay (arnis), John Jeffrey Morcillos (sepak takraw), Noel Norada (wrestling) and Mark Anthony Alcoseba (lawn tennis) are assigned at the Special Service Center of the Philippine Army, where the Wellness Center is located.
The Army last week turned the gymnasium into temporary accommodation for stranded passengers, who are awaiting their flights back home amid limited number of flights due to the community lockdown.
Other SEA Games athletes serving in the Army are Denmark Bathan (softball) and Michael Cater (wrestling), who both took home silver medals last year.
Volleyball stars Jovelyn Gonzaga, Honey Royse Tubino, Mary Jean Balse-Pabayo and MPBL players James Acuña, Mar Villahermosa, Jopher Custodio, and Jan Colina are also doing their duty as frontliners.
Some of their tasks include distributing food and hygiene kits to the LSIs staying in the Army Gym and providing transport to and from the airport when needed.
“Every time we check up on them and help them because some of them are getting depressed because of the lockdown, and we’re there to give them assistance,” said Gonzaga, a corporal in the Army, told Inquirer in Filipino on Thursday.
During their duty, Gonzaga said they also have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect them from the respiratory disease.
Staff Sergeant Kung Fu Reyes, an assistant coach with the women’s national volleyball team and the head coach of University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses, is also serving in the frontlines and was stationed on guard duty at Fort Bonifacio’s housing units.
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