Following the successful campaign of Philippine para-athletes in the recently concluded 9th ASEAN Para Games in Malaysia in September, the Philippine Paralympic Committee/Philippine Sports Association for the Differently Abled (PPC-PHILSPADA) is pushing the envelope further to support local para athletes in upcoming international competitions.
PPC PHILSPADA launched today a mobile donation service called “Alay PARA Atleta”, a simple and easy way for Filipino citizens to participate in the Philippine Paralympic movement using their mobile phones. The group has tied up with Rising Tide Mobile Entertainment Inc., a mobile content and service company, to launch APA on both Globe and Smart so Filipinos everywhere can help enable our para-athletes to move forward. Under the campaign, citizens can donate amounts starting at P10 up to P500 simply by texting the amount to access code 3456 on their cellphones.
According to PPC-PHILSPADA president Michael Barredo, the mobile donation campaign is part of an integrated marketing plan that aims to propagate the national paralympic movement through various events and activities that will increase public awareness and support for our athletes with disability.
On September 1, the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) partnered with the PPC-PHILSPADA so UAAP students and schools can join the Paralympic movement and support Philippine para-athletes using the mobile facility, a communication and payment mode that is most appealing to millennials. UAAP students and athletes are looking to volunteer as support staff and crew in the next ASEAN Para Games in 2019 that will be hosted by the Philippines.
The country won a total of 69 medals (20 gold, 20 silver and 29 bronze) in the last Para SEA Games held September 17 to 23 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Formerly ranked 7th in the overall standing, the Philippines moved two notches higher to 5th place in the ASEAN region. PPC PHILSPADA sees this as the perfect jump board for bigger achievements for Filipino para athletes.
The biggest surprise in the recent KL stint were the fresh para athletes who bagged medals in their very first international competition. These rising stars are products of Palarong Pambansa and includes 16-year old Ma. Cielo Honasan who bagged 3 golds in Athletics, Gary Bejino, 21, 1 gold and 3 bronze in swimming and Claire Calizo, 18, a silver and a bronze in swimming.
“Our showing in KL validated our long range plan: to implement a grassroots development program that will help discover new talents and harness our existing ones in order to create a bigger pool of para athletes that will be ready to compete in the next 2018 Indonesia Asian Para Games, the ASEAN Para Games in Manila in 2019, the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics and other international para sport competitions,” Barredo said.
“The Alay PARA Atleta Program is our response to the colorful performance of our para athletes in the recent Para Games. Funds raised through this program will help provide our para athletes with equipment and basic needs that will support them in their quest to transcend their personal barriers to achieve excellence and excite the world. Above all, it will inspire them to know that the whole country is behind them in their dream to excel and bring honor to the country,” he continued.
Barredo further emphasized that “whatever resources we are able to generate will help strengthen PPC’s organizational capacity to enable our national sports associations (NSAs) to implement our grassroots development program. This is in alignment with the mandate of our Philippine Sports Commission Chairman, Butch Ramirez.”
Some Filipino para athletes who have consistently brought home honor for the country are powerlifter Adeline Dumapong (Polio Wheelchair), gold medalist in the 2017, 2015, 2011, 2009, 2007, 2005 and 2003 ASEAN Para Games and bronze in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics; table tennis ace Josephine Medina (Polio Standing), gold medalist in the ASEAN Para Games 2015, 2013, 2011, 2009, 2007, 2005 and 2003; swimmer Ernie Gawilan (Congenital Deformity), gold medalist in the 2017, 2015, 2013, 2011 and 2009; track star Jerrold Pete Mangliwan (Polio Wheelchair), gold medalist in the 2015 ASEAN Para games; Joel Balatucan of field athletics (Polio Wheelchair), gold medalist in the 2015, 2013, 2011 and 2009 ASEAN Para Games; and Julius Jun Obrero (Polio Standing), gold medalist and Wheelchair Dance Sport IPC World Champion.