Filipino Olympic medalists receive incentives from PH gov’t

Robie de Guzman   •   August 24, 2021   •   362

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino athletes who brought home four-medal haul from the recent 2020 Tokyo Olympics have received incentives from the government on Monday.

In a ceremony at Malacañan Palace , President Rodrigo Duterte gave the athletes their incentives as he congratulated them again for bringing pride to the country and uplifting the spirit of Filipinos amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Your hard work, dedication and sportsmanship, even amidst the challenges in your training and competitions prior to the Olympics, are truly inspiring,” Duterte told the Olympians during the event.

“I am confident that you will get better and stronger in securing more victories in the future. Your success will continue to motivate many aspiring athletes and our Filipino youth to channel their energies into sports and other productive activities, keeping them away from the harmful vices,” he added.

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, the country’s first-ever gold medalist, received P15 million from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., a housing unit from the National Housing Authority (NHA) and P3 million from the Office of the President.

She was also conferred the Presidential Medal of Merit.

Boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, who both clinched silver medals, each received P5 million from the PSC, housing unit from NHA and P2 million from the Office of the President.

Bronze medalist Eumir Marcial got P2 million from the PSC, a housing unit from NHA and P1 million from the Office of the President

The Filipino boxers were also conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu, Rank of Kamagi. The Order of Lapu-Lapu is given to persons in government or private sector who have rendered extraordinary service or have made exceptional contributions to the success of the President’s campaign or advocacy.

Other athletes who participated in the Tokyo Olympics will receive P200,000 and Presidential citations.

Boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco, who copped the Philippines’ first silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, also received P500,000 from the Office of the President during the event.

Velasco was given incentive after he revealed that he has yet to get the P2.5 million pledged by some lawmakers when he brought home the medal in 1996.

Duterte assured that the government remains committed to providing full support to Filipino athletes, as he urged the PSC, Philippine Olympic Committee and other sports bodies to continue providing much-needed assistance to keep the country’s athletes at the elite level and attain greatness.

“The strength and excellence of our athletes in the international sports arena demonstrate the Filipino spirit of resilience and determination to succeed,” he said.

“Our Tokyo 2020 medalists and Olympians truly embody our greatness as a people and as a nation,” he added.

Philippines, Malaysia to boost bilateral ties amid easing pandemic situation – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

 MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is looking to bolster its ties with Malaysia amid improving COVID-19 situation in Southeast Asia, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.

In a statement, the DFA said that the department’s Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Neal Imperial met with Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Norman bin Muhammad last Oct. 18.

Among the things discussed by the two officials were initiatives seeking to revitalize the two nations’ relations across all areas amid easing coronavirus pandemic situation, it added.

“The two officials exchanged views and proposals on how to further boost bilateral trade and investment, address the COVID-19 pandemic, and roll out post-pandemic recovery initiatives, including the careful reopening of borders to gradually revitalize business and two-way tourism,” the DFA said.

The department said that both parties have also discussed counterterrorism cooperation, the promotion of moderate Islam in predominantly Muslim areas, as well as Malaysia’s support for the development of Mindanao.

The two officials also agreed to continue working together to further enhance Philippines-Malaysia bilateral ties, and explore the possibility of reconvening high-level bilateral meetings early next year.

Despite the effects of the pandemic, Malaysia remains one of the Philippines’ top trading partners and investment sources.

During their meeting, Imperial also conveyed the congratulations of the Philippine Government to Malaysia’s newly elected government, the DFA said.

PH to raise daily vaccination target to 1.5 million doses

Robie de Guzman   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is eyeing to raise its daily vaccination target to 1.5 million jabs amid the arrival of more COVID-19 vaccine doses.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte in a taped public briefing aired late Tuesday, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the continuous delivery of vaccine supplies in the country will allow the government to shift its focus to inoculating as much of the willing general population.

Galvez, who is also the National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer, said that for the first half of October alone, 20 million vaccine doses have already been delivered under government and private sector procurements, as well as donations.

The World Health Organization-led COVAX facility delivered 7.3 million doses for this month, which is one of its biggest vaccine donations to the Philippines to date, he added.

Galvez also reported that apart from the COVAX facility, the United States also donated 6.4 million Pfizer jabs while Germany gave 884, 800 AstraZeneca doses.

Both the US and Germany have committed to donate more in the coming months, he added.

At this rate, the vaccine czar said that achieving 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses delivery before end-October is “on track” and that vaccine supply shortage “is no longer an issue” with more than 38 million doses are safely stored in cold chain storage warehouses.

With the abundance of vaccine supply, Galvez said the government can now shift its attention to recalibrating its vaccine deployment strategy to inoculate the general population, including children, before the year ends.

The national government is aiming to vaccinate at least 50 million individuals this year.

As of Monday, a total of 24,498,753 have been fully vaccinated or 31.76 percent of the total vaccination target.

Philippines hailed as Asia’s leading beach and dive destination

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has been hailed as ‘Asia’s Leading Beach Destination’ by the World Travel Awards 2021.

The other nominees are India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The country also bested other contenders for Asia’s Leading Dive Destination, leading against Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat welcomed the said recognition and expressed her gratitude towards the government and the citizens who continue to promote the country’s tourist attractions.

“We share this recognition with our tourism stakeholders, local government units, partner agencies, and all Filipinos who have been helping us promote our country’s attractions, products, and culture,” she said.

This is the fifth time the country has been recognized as Asia’s Leading Beach Destination, and the third time as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination. AAC

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