OLYMPIC silver medal winner Hidilyn Diaz leads the bulk of the Philippine contingent set to make a courtesy call on President Duterte in Malacañang before it leaves for the 18th Asian Games this week in the cities of Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia.
Diaz will join Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez, and PH Chef de Mission Richard Gomez in the scheduled 4 p.m. sendoff to be held at the Rizal Hall.
The 26-year-old Diaz will lead the invocation to be followed by the opening message of Vargas, who’ll be at the helm of his first major international event since being elected as POC chief last February.
Ramirez will also say his own message as head of the country’s government sports agency, while Gomez, president of the Philippine Fencing Association and current mayor of Ormoc City, is tasked to present the Philippine delegates and make the roll call of all sports seeing action in the August 18 to September 2 quadrennial showcase.
Following the presentation of the Filipino contingent, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea will introduce President Duterte for his traditional send-off speech.
Photo ops and groupfies with the President will be done by batches just before the end of the program to be hosted by Ed Picson, POC Communications Director and secretary general of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP).
There will be other members of the delegation though, who can’t make it to the formal ceremony though, as they’ll be leaving for Indonesia earlier.
The men’s basketball team under coach Yeng Guiao will be one of them.
“Sayang, gusto pa naman namin na makasama doon,” said Guiao. “Alam namin mahilig sa sports si Presidente at tsaka si Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, na kaibigan nating matagal na dahil sa basketball.
“Pero maaaga kasi yung tournament ng basketball kaya kailangan andun na kami.”