Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday encouraged the Philippine contingent at the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam to “do their best for God and country” as Filipino athletes have begun winning medals at the biannual sporting meet which opened this week.
“Sa mga minamahal nating atleta, Godspeed! Ipanalo niyo ito para sa Diyos at para sa bansa natin,” Cayetano said in a statement on May 12, 2022.
He also congratulated the athletes who have already garnered podium finishes two days into the regional sporting event.
“Mainit na pagbati kay Francine Padios na nakapanalo ng pinakauna nating gold sa 2022 SEA Games! Isa kang inspiration sa mga kabataan nating nais magpakahusay sa Southeast Asian martial arts tulad ng Pencak Silat,” Cayetano said.
Padios won the country’s first gold medal in Hanoi on Wednesday, besting Indonesian Puspa Arum Sari in the Pencak Silat Women’s Seni (Artistic) Tunggal Single final.
The Filipina martial artist also left Vietnam’s Vuong Thi Binh in the dust at the semifinals stage en route to her gold-medal win.
Pencak silat is a Southeast Asian martial art originating from Indonesia and involves strikes, grappling, and throwing along with the use of weaponry.
Cayetano, who is an avid sports fan and patron of Filipino athletes, also wished safe travels for the other Filipino sportsmen and women making their way to Hanoi to take part in Southeast Asia’s largest athletic event, which had been postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic
“God bless our athletes na papunta pa lang sa Hanoi ngayon. Ipinagdarasal namin ng aking pamilya ang inyong ligtas na pagbiyahe at tagumpay sa Vietnam,” Cayetano said.
As of this writing, the Philippines is ranked fourth among 11 participating countries, with one gold, five silver medals, and five bronzes.
The country’s Kurash team supplied two silver and three bronze medals, care of Sydney Sy, Helen Alcopen, Charlie Quelino, George Baclagan and Miguel Cazeñas.
Cayetano authored Republic Act 11470, establishing the National Academy of Sports which will function as the country’s premier educational institution for athletes training and development.
RA 11470 was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 9, 2020. The main campus of the National Academy of Sports is now being developed in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.