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Mindanao congressman expresses support for Carlo Paalam, PH team

The people of Northern Mindanao will cheer for Misamis Oriental native Carlo Paalam and the rest of the Philippine team.
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Mindanao will be represented in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics as boxer Carlo Paalam and weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz will vie for the elusive Olympic gold in the traditionally quadrennial meet from July 23-Aug. 8.

A congressman hailing from the said region assured both athletes that the Mindanaoans will cheer for them and the rest of the national team even if they will just watch them on television or live stream.

"We here in Northern Mindanao are excited about the Tokyo Olympics. We pray and wish for the success of our Olympians," Iligan representative Frederick Siao said on Tuesday.

Siao then put much premium on the support to Paalam, who hails from the Region 10.

Paalam was born in Bukidnon but has since called the town of Balingoan in Misamis Oriental his home.

"Boxer Carlo Paalam has a special place in our hearts because he comes from here in Northern Mindanao. Carlo Paalam represents the thousands of young Filipinos here in Northern Mindanao who excel in or are enthusiastically engaged in sports. He is among the best of us," Siao said.

The former Iligan city sports director is the legislator House Bill 5728 or the International Filipino Sports Achievers Recognition and Career Development Act, which aims to give national athletes and their coaching staff automatic civil service professional eligibility should they win a medal or set new records.

The bill also aims to give the said sports heroes an opportunity to finish college or graduate school through the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program.

"As a former sports director of Iligan City, I know that every medal earned and every new competition record set in international sports competitions are milestones in a lifelong journey of learning and both intensive and extensive application of multidisciplinary training. These milestones deserve commensurate and appropriate formal recognition in terms of qualification to join or progress in the civil service in the Philippines and in the profession of sports," Siao detailed the bill.

Should it becomes a law, HB 5728 also calls for the establishment of sports development offices in each local government unit.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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