Gawilan Gawilan: Hoping for the best.

Gawilan hopes for the best

August 29, 2022 Ed Andaya 533 views

TOKYO Paralympics veteran Ernie Gawilan is keeping his fingers crossed that the government, thru the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), will continue to look after the welfare of Filipino para athletes.

Gawilan, who made history by becoming the first Filipino swimmer to compete in the 2016 and 2020 Paralympics, also welcomed the plans to amend Republic Act 10699, or the Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act, and level the playing fields among all national athletes.

“Kung makakausap ko po si President Marcos, yung incentives law para sa mga medalists ang sasabihin ko. Alam naman po natin na pare-parehas yung kulay ng bandila ng dala natin kahit saan pa mang labanan,” said Gawilan during the 34th “Sports on Air” vodcast recently.

“Ang hiling lang naman po namin, mabago yun incentives naming mga atleta. Kahit hindi pumantay, kumbaga lumapit man lang sana sa natatangap ng mga regular athletes,” said the 31-year swimmer from Davao, who rose to prominence by winning the country’s first-ever gold medal in the Asian Para Games held in Jakarta in 2018.

“Siguro yung difference lang po sa kanila, sila po ay kumpleto at kami lang po ay may kapansanan. Pero parehas naman po na Pilipinas ang nakalagay sa likod ng uniporme namin,”added Gawilan, who was born with underdeveloped extremities resulting to him lacking both legs and an underdeveloped left limb due to surviving an attempted abortion.

“Sana bago man lang kami mamatay, makatikim man lang kami ng … kumbaga kami pinanganak kami na may mga kulang at lugi nga agad kami, makatikim man lang ng pantay na trato kahit sandali lang.”

Gawilan, however, noted the efforts of the PSC, headedby Chairman Wiliam “Butch” Ramirez and Paralympic Committee of the Philippines, led by Michael Barredo, in trying to help the plight of the para athletes.

Gawilan admitted that he is also thinking of retirement.

“Sa totoo lang, medyo iba po kasi talaga yung swimming at saka athletics. Mas mahirap yun kumpetisyon, pati ang training. Yun iba, pa chill-chill lang. Sa swimming, ibang klase talaga. Kaya sa ngayon, parang napapag-isipan ko na siguro mga ilang taon na lang ang ibubuga ko. Parang pabigat nang pabigat ang pakiramdam ko, lalo na 31 years old na din ako,” claimed Gawilan, who also made the country proud when he bagged two golds,one silver and one bronze in the recent ASEAN Para Games held in solo, Indonesia.

“Pero hindi naman nawawala sa isipan ko na makapag-bigay ulit ako ng mss maraming karangalan para sa ating bansa hanggang kaya ko. Sana nga palarin pa ako sa mga ilang taon na active pa ako sa sports,” added Gawilan. with reports from Gab Ferreras

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