Speech of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on the Awarding of Incentives to the Medalists of the 4th Asian Para Games

Event Awarding Ceremony for the 4th Asian Para Games Medalists
Location Heroes Hall, Malacañan Palace

Thank you very much to our Philippine Sport Commission Chairman, Richard Bachmann.

The Philippine Paralympic Committee President, Michael Barredo; the Athletes of the 4th Asian Para Games and who are with us today, who had participated, and who had garnered for us the best result that the Philippines has ever had in the Para Games, ang galing ninyo, thank you very much sa inyong… [applause];

PSC and PPC officials, and staff; the coaches, parents, and loved ones of the athletes, kung minsan hindi natin na— lagi nating— ang inii-spotlight natin ‘yung mga atleta, tama naman, sila naman talaga ang— sila naman talaga ang lumaban at nagkaroon ng medalya, at nagtraining, at nagsakripisyo ngunit, alam naman natin eh kahit sa anong sports, nandiyan ang mga coach, andiyan ang mga trainer, andiyan ‘yung mga magulang, andyan ‘yung mga tumutulong. At kahit ‘yung athlete kung minsan ang ating nakikita, ay kailangan kilalanin din natin ang support group na— informal support group na nagdadala sa ating mga atleta sa kanilang mga performance na nagkakaroon nga ng medalya, nagbibigay ng dangal sa Pilipinas; ladies and gentlemen,

I am here today before you not just as your President, but as your fan because when it comes to supporting athletes [who] compete under our flag, I am the Cheerleader-in-Chief, self-appointed.

It is just fitting that we are honoring our nation’s para-athletes here in the Heroes Hall, for this is what best describes what you are and who you are.

Speaking of heroes and halls in Malacañang, most buildings here sport generic names, and only one, the biggest, honors an individual: Apolinario Mabini.

Mabini, who after losing the use of his legs, used his brilliant mind to rally the people to rise up, to fight, and chase the freedom that we so well-deserved.

Ganun din po kayo.

You do not let your disability discourage you from doing what you wanted, nor did it deter you from achieving your dreams.

To say that para-athletes are of a different breed and made of harder stuff is an understatement.

Most athletes push themselves to meet the Olympic standard of being faster, stronger.

Para-athletes have to unchain themselves from stronger restraints so you can soar higher, hurdle bigger obstacles so they can run faster, crush more powerful burdens that weigh them down so that you are, in fact, stronger.

It is with tremendous pride that I congratulate the Para-athletes who all gave your best during the 4th Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, China last October.

You have brought home a rich haul of 19 medals, and bringing us to 9th place in a highly competitive field of 44 countries.

You have done that by showing your country the image of what a dauntless Filipino should be.

You have projected that adversity can be overcome, impairment can harness inspiration, and barriers can be bridges to triumphs.

Kung kaya n’yo, kaya ng lahat ng Pilipino.

Kung kaya ng Philippine Para-athletic National Team, kaya ng Pilipinas, kaya ng Bagong Pilipinas.

You are the poster boys and girls for surmounting the odds.

It is only fitting that, apart from the thanks of a grateful nation, we also present you with incentives to help you along. At alam naman natin napakaraming pangangailangan kapag tayo’y lumalaban dito sa mga international sports competition.

So, as we hand these to you, remember that these are not merely monetary tokens. They are symbols of the love of your countrymen and their admiration for all the sacrifices that you have made for you country and for your countrymen.

I will be remiss if I do not congratulate your fellow winners– your coaches, your parents, the loved ones who are here with us today.

They deserve to proudly stand on the podium with you also for being by your side and sharing the “agony of setbacks and the thrill of triumph” that you have tasted.

Kaya naman po ako ay natutuwa na itinaon ng Philippine Sports Commission ang ika-tatlumpu’t apat na anibersaryo ng inyong pagkakatatag sa pag-gawad ng mga pabuya sa ating mga bayaning atleta.

If your mandate is to promote sports that are inclusive, then it must include a sector that is fighting for inclusivity.

If your mission is to mainstream sports in all aspects of national life, then it begins by bringing into the fold those who are seen to be in the margins.

For nearly three and a half decades, the Commission has done and fulfilled that duty.

The fruits of their labor should not be reflected on scoreboards and medals won alone.

In gauging its performance, the medals won by the few come second to how sports are enjoyed and played by the masses.

The overall objective is to promote sports down to the grassroots, not to merely create a talent farm for national teams but to use sports for nation-building.

A good sports program goes beyond trophy collecting. It should harness our collective strengths to realize the common good.

So, we must train, we must fund, and nurture our national sporting elite that is able to compete with the world’s best so they can bring us pride and glory and inspiration.

We can do that together with mass sports that build a robust national spirit that serves a common goal.

Sports prepare us for the citizenship duties we must perform.

Sports spur us to strive, not for the easy goals but for the hard ones.

Sports teach us not to fear our failures but rather to savor and learn from them. They push us to pursue our impossible dreams.

It is this way that we are taught to work together, energized towards a common goal.

Sports is unity applied in real life.

It brings together our very best traits: that of passion, endurance, and persistence amidst very great diversity.

These are values which any Filipino may embody, regardless of their circumstances.

These are the values upon which the foundations of our nation are anchored.

Fighting words alone do not make sports bloom, neither do they create champions.

This requires ample facilities across the country, for athletes of all sports, of all ages, in all classes.

We are boosting support for our athletes, their coaches, and their families.

We are building athletic infrastructure, from gyms, athletic ovals, even safe sidewalks.

Kasi nga di ba, pag medyo mataas ang cholesterol mo, ang reseta ng doktor ay 10 milligrams of statin and 10,000 steps a day.

May botika sa gamot, pero walang tindahan ng sidewalk kung saan ka pwede maglakad.

This brings me to another of sports’ great value: as a wellness tool that makes our people healthy. Kasama na rin d’yan ang mental health.

So, now I call on the PSC, as well as every sports association and community in the country to continue breaking barriers, challenging stereotypes, building a nation where sports serve as an inclusive and unifying force.

In so doing, we can look forward to a new Philippines, Bagong Pilipinas, that is bound by the ideals of industry, integrity, and teamwork, and committed to the pursuit of greatness and excellence.

And you fall into a very special category because beyond the glory that you bring to our country, you continue to inspire the nation, you continue to inspire every Filipino.

Kung kaya niya, kung kaya nila na magkamedalya, kung kaya nila sa kanilang kondisyon— eh nagagawa nila ito, eh siguro naman tayong pangkaraniwan na Pilipino ay mas lalo pa nating kaya.

And that’s what inspires all Filipinos, to see again our countrymen overcome the difficulties that you have been born with but nonetheless have overcome those difficulties to bring glory, not only to yourselves, not only to your families but to our country, and that is the greatest achievement of all. As far as I am concerned.

So, again, congratulations to everyone!

Mabuhay ang Philippine Sports Commission!

Mabuhay ang ating mga Bidang Bayaning Manlalaro!

Maraming, maraming salamat. Congratulations sa inyong lahat.