On Bonifacio Day, public urged to honor athletes' 'heroism' as SEA Games opens

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 30 2019 02:29 PM | Updated as of Nov 30 2019 03:28 PM

The Philippine national football team celebrates after defeating Malaysia 1-0 during their SEA Games men’s football match at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, November 29, 2019. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - As the Southeast Asian Games formally opens amid commemoration of revolutionary Andres Bonifacio's 156th birth anniversary, the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) on Saturday called on the public to celebrate the heroism of the athletes competing in the sporting event. 

In a statement released Saturday, the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) urged the public to pay tribute to national athletes, considered as "the country's modern day heroes." 

"Today, we celebrate the birth of one of our greatest national heroes, Gat Andres Bonifacio, who was known for his courage and love for the Philippines. Coincidentally, we also celebrate the heroic feats of our Filipino athletes who continue to raise the country's flag through sports," PHISGOC chairman House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said. 

Cayetano also called on Filipinos to show support for the country's representatives, which he says "embody the virtues of Bonifacio." 

Team Philippines is aiming to win more than 100 gold medals at the biennial games, where it would field more than 1,000 athletes. 

"They exude courage every time they fight in their respective sports events. And they do so with the goal of bringing honor to the Philippines," Cayetano said.

"Our athletes are heroes in their own way because of the tremendous pride they bring to our nation. They deserve all the praise they can get from their fellow Filipinos, especially now that the 30th SEA Games is officially starting today," he said. 

Hosting the SEA Games is an opportunity to showcase the country's "world-class talent," Cayetano added. 

In a separate statement, Malacañang urged the public to "emulate" the principles of Bonifacio, who led the Filipino revolutionary movement against Spanish occupation in the late 1800s.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo called on the public to continue pursuing the "emancipation of our countrymen from foreign dominion." 

Citing the country's problems in poverty, corruption, illegal drugs, and terrorism, Panelo said Filipinos should be "inspired" by the life of the late hero in fighting the nation's issues. 

"Let us become the new heroes of this generation in the mold of Andres Bonifacio, to pave the way for the succeeding ones to resurrect the culture of love and nationalism that will propel this nation and country to progress and prosperity, under a regime of peace, security and life of comfort for all Filipinos," Panelo said.