THE LOCAL Paralympic movement got a new supporter in Citi Philippines, which has vowed to rally behind the country’s differently abled athletes as they compete in international events, including the 10th ASEAN Para Games here in January 2020.
While its partnership with the Philippine Paralympic Committee was formalized in December last year following Citi’s agreement with the International Paralympic Committee, the tie-up in the country was brought to the fore at the weekend with the holding of the inaugural “Lakad Para Atleta” at the University of the Philippines College of Science Oval in Diliman, Quezon City.
A fund-raising walk in support of the Paralympic movement, Lakad Para Atleta, Citi said, is one of the activities the groups hope to stage to help generate excitement and national pride around the extraordinary accomplishments of the country’s para-athletes.
Citi incidentally is sponsoring two of the country’s top para-athletes — Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta (power lifting) and Jerrold Mangliwan (wheelchair racing).
Present during the Lakad Para Atleta last Saturday were officials of the PPC and Citi Philippines, joined by more than 2,000 participants, including 800 Citi employees.
“Citi Philippines is excited about the opportunity to partner with the PPC and to jointly work on the common goal of greater inclusion in sports. We are thrilled to sponsor the inaugural ‘Lakad Para Atleta.’ Our 800 Citi volunteers present today feel honored to be participating side-by-side with the nation’s incredible para-athletes and their supporters,” said Citi Philippines chief executive officer Aftab Ahmed.
For PPC president Michael Barredo, Citi Philippines coming on board of the movement and supporting what they are doing is a big boost.
“We are overwhelmed by the support of our partners, especially Citi Philippines. ‘Lakad Para Atleta’ and our partnership with Citi will help increase awareness of para sports in the country as we prepare for the upcoming ASEAN Para Games in January 2020, as well as the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics later on the same year. We hope to make our fellow Filipinos proud of our achievements both in the sporting arena as well as in our quest to promote equality for all,” said Mr. Barredo.
The Lakad Para Atleta was also supported by UP, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the Philippine Olympians Association (POA), among other organizations.
The POC is also supporting the PPC by holding a series of sports activities for an “Olympic Day” together with the country’s top athletes from the POA. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo