LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 13 – To financially assist the lone Filipino skater competing in the Winter Olympics in Russia, Albayanos have launched a fund-raising campaign for Michael Christian Martinez as their pre-Valentine gift to the Filipino figure skater.
The campaign, dubbed as “Piso para sa Pusong Pilipino: People’s Valentine Gift for Michael,” it was initiated by Governor Joey Sarte Salceda on Tuesday where he donated his entire one-month salary to start the ball rolling, so to speak.
The Philippines first participation in a winter Olympics was in the 1972 Sapporo (Japan) with athletes Juan Cipriano and Ben Nanasca. Both competed in the Giant Slalom and Men’s Slalom. Cipriano did not finish in both events. Nansca, however, was ranked 42 time 4:06.20 on Giant Slalom but did not finish in the Men’s slalom.
In 1988 Calgary (Canada) Winter Olympics, the Philippines was represented by Raymond Ocampo in Luge with an average time of 3:27.662 to finish in the 35th place.
Michael Teruel was in the 1992 Albertville (France) Winter Olympics. He competed in Giant Slalom (Time 2.46.84, Rank 71) and Slalom (time 2.27.49, Rank 49).
Salceda used the social networking medium, specifically the Facebook, to disseminate the campaign through the netizens.
Since the launch on Tuesday morning, at least P61,515 had been generated as of 3:00 p.m. of the same day.
“It’s not the money but the act of physically articulating our inner desire that really matters. That will give him (Martinez) the aura of a winner — that the winning form and movement during competitions are knowing fully well that an entire nation is solidly behind him in thought and even in muscle memory and that we will be there to catch him when he falls so he can be bolder,” the Albay governor said.
Martinez is the first Filipino figure skater to represent the Philippines at the Winter Olympics in 22 years.
The city government of Legazpi led by Mayor Noel Rosal also asked Bicolanos, specifically Albayanos, to help in the “piso-piso” campaign for Martinez.
“Let us help our lone athlete competing in Sochi 2014 Winter Games, Michael Christian Martinez,” Rosal said.
Salceda said Albayanos who are willing to help Martinez can deposit their share or peso contribution at Union Bank – Legazpi Branch (UBP S/A 109567131932).
“I personally guarantee remittance to the family. The amount as of 3:00 p.m. is P61,515 (kasama na diyan yung sweldo ko). We stop at 12:00 p.m. on Friday,” Salceda said Tuesday afternoon.
The piso-piso collection started at the provincial capitol of Albay where employees passed around cans and hats to generate donation money for Martinez.
Subsequently, Albayanos from all walks of life followed and went directly to the bank to deposit their financial assistance for the sports figure.
Martinez, a 17-year-old World championship ranker from Manila, said they had tried to get support from Malacañang through several request-letters sent by his mother to the Office of the President.
Maria Teresa Martinez, his mother, said she had written Malacañang for several times asking for help but has not gotten any response up to now.
She hopes the letters would get to the attention of the President.
Martinez ranked fifth in the World Junior Figure Skating Championships is the first skater ever to represent the Philippines in the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, scheduled this month.
To generate more assistance, Salceda directed the local government units in Albay, ABC federations, interested civil society organizations and other groups to pass the can or hat around or they can deposit their contribution directly to the designated bank account. (with PNA report by Rhaydz B. Barcia)