SNAPPY SALUTE to our PH athletes.
COVID-19 has greatly affected certain industries around the world – sports being one of the worst-hit. As our fight against the pandemic continues, enlisted PH athletes have answered the call of duty. They’re proving to us that more than heroes in sports, they’re also heroes in camouflage.
Since the start of the lockdown, volleyball players and coaches who are enlisted personnel have responded to help the country’s fight against the pandemic. Jovelyn Gonzaga of the Cignal HD Spikers and Army Lady Troopers shares her sentiments and experiences through her official Instagram account:
Assisting the nation
Gonzaga, now assisting Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) inside the Philippine Army Camp in Taguig, has been on duty since the start of the enhanced community quarantine.
View this post on Instagram
1/2 PROUD ARMY.. I remember the days when I was just starting my playing career. I was hesitant and full of doubt until I find my niche and understand my deeper why? Why am I doing these things? And where is passion coming from. All my life since I started playing volleyball, I always make it a point that my resiliency is always in check. Though there were some instances that I intend to give up? However, the desire in me to do better withstand all these challenges. That same resiliency and passion is what keeps me going until now. As a professional volleyball player and as a soldier. Serving the country is in my DNA, while playing for the country and as a soldier serving my countryman. With this pandemic crippling our nation. I once again feel the importance and value of what we do as a soldier in serving the country. We are tasked to take care of the LSI’s. And the inspiration I am getting every day on duty from out our displaced countrymen despite of all the challenges surrounding their conditions is really remarkable. And instead of me writing about them? I would rather write something from me and the lessons I’ve learned meeting them first hand. And this is my story. My regular day is training, duty and training. Sometimes go out for other stuff but most often times it’s me being a soldier and an athlete altogether. When we were call to duty in taking care of the LSI’s? Mixed emotions hit me. There’s excitement, pity and I would say fear of the unknown as we took on our new tour of duty within our territory. As we received our first batch of LSI’s. You can see in their eyes the struggles they’ve been through. However, you can also sense the sigh of relief from their actions that things will be better compared to their previous conditions. You can feel in the air the longingness of our LSI’s to go home and be with their families. Regardless of their uncertainties with regards to the acceptance of their home provinces on returning LSI’s. We all know that not all provinces are welcoming their LSI’s due to the danger of spreading Covid-19 in their respective places. @yourphilippinearmy To be continued…..
Before volleyball was in the picture, Gonzaga always wanted to serve the country, inspiring her to join the army.
Other volleyball players who are currently on duty right now are Army Lady Troopers’ outside hitter Honey Royse Tubino and middle-blocker Mary Jean Balse-Pabayo.
Assistant coach to the Women’s National Team and head coach of the University of Sto. Tomas Kung Fu Reyes, a Staff Sergeant, has been on the frontlines as well. Reyes has been guarding Fort Bonifacio’s housing units.
Additionally, other PH athletes are in the fray. Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League’s James Acuña, Mar Villahermosa, Jopher Custodio, and Jan Colina are also serving as frontliners. Their tasks go from distributing food and hygiene kits to LSIs, to providing them with transportation.
Service from silver medalists
After bringing the country pride in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, other enlisted national athletes continue to represent the country well amidst the pandemic. These include Denmark Bathan for softball, and Michael Cater for wrestling. Both brought home silver medals.
Like everyone else on the frontlines, our national athletes are required to wear their personal protective equipment (PPEs) and strictly enforce health protocols.
Looking back at Gonzaga’s post, she highlighted the importance of what they are doing for the country. “With this pandemic crippling our nation. I once again feel the importance and value of what we do as soldiers serving the country,” she wrote.
In sharing their stories of their daily tasks and struggle being away from their families, especially with case numbers still on the rise, we are reminded of their sacrifice. Our military-PH athletes continue to serve and secure the welfare of our people, with or without awards they’re used to.
Their playing fields may look and feel different, but the plays they’re making today are huge. They’re sacrificing so much for our countrymen, and we should respect them tenfold for it.
We salute every single one of you. Thank you!