The Philippine Southeast Asian Games delegation has been assured of Presidential blessing when it leaves for Kuala Lumpur next week to carry the country’s colors in the 29th edition of the biennial conclave set August 19 to 30 in that Malaysian premier city.
This, Philippine Sports Commission chair Butch Ramirez assured on Saturday saying President Duterte is set to receive the 498-athlete strong national contingent either Monday or Tuesday in Malacañang.
“The Presidential Management Staff, I was told, has approved the request made by the delegation chef de mission asking an audience with the President when the athletes and officials pay a courtesy call on him before the nationals fly to KL sometime next week,” Ramirez told The Manila Times in a telephone interview.
“It depends on the President’s schedule. But I believe it could be Monday or Tuesday because I was told members of our delegation will be leaving Wednesday or Thursday,” Ramirez said.
“But what I can assure of is the President is definitely meeting with our athletes, coaches and officials to give them inspiration and motivation in their quest for glory and honors for themselves and country,” the PSC head asserted.
If and when PRRD, indeed, meet the athletes, it will be the first time in more than six years that a Chief Executive will perform such tradition that started by President Quezon way back during the Commonwealth era and observed by all Chiefs of State who followed him except President Benigno Aquino III.
In all of his six years in office, the son of late lady President Cory Aquino, P-Noy never sent off or welcome national contingents or individual athletes who represented the country in all the international competitions held under his watch.
These included the Asian Games of 2010 and 2014, the SEA Games of 2011, 2013 and 2015 and the Olympic Games of 2012 and 2016. This is apart from at least three World University Games and several individual competitions in the Asian, Continental and world levels.
It was under P-Noy’s term that he Philippines fashioned out its worst seventh overall finish in the 2011 SEA Games and sixth in 2013 an 2015.