Will athletics be a focus for new Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s administration?
It looked to be based on the Chief Executive’s inauguration at the National Museum in Manila on Thursday.
In a historic first, athletes were represented in the civic military parade before Marcos’s inauguration as the country’s 17th president.
A total of 25 national athletes from wushu, sepak takraw, jujitsu, judo, kurash, shooting, rowing, and gymnastics joined the march, which was led by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The President of the Philippine Olympic Committee, Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, expressed confidence that sports will have a strong place in the new national administration.
“We are thankful to the new administration, to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., for putting sports on a rightful platform in his administration,” Tagaytay City Mayor and PhilCycling President said.
He added, “The POC, and the whole of Philippine sports for that matter, is more hopeful now that our athletes will be given more priority and attention under President Marcos,”
The Philippines is looking to replicate, if not improve, its magnificent accomplishments in the world arena under the Rodrigo Duterte government, which were highlighted by weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz’s breakthrough gold attempt at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
Under the previous administration, Filipino athletes won the overall title at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, which the country hosted, as well as generating global champions such as gymnast Caloy Yulo and boxer Nesthy Petecio, among others.
Tolentino said, “The athletes’ inclusion in the parade signals how serious President Marcos’ outlook on sports will be,”.
“Sports is a tried, tested and certified unifying factor among us Filipinos — time and again, we unite each time our athletes compete, and win, abroad.”
The Philippine Sports Commission organized the athletes’ participation in the parade, which also included significant government sites and frontliners who fought COVID-19 during the epidemic.
Surprisingly, the current leadership is still in the process of picking probable successors to PSC officials led by William “Butch” Ramirez or agreeing to keep them.