MANILA, Philippines – The Senate has ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to recall the Philippines’s ambassador to Argentina following the assault on a Filipino boxer in the South American country.
The order came after Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, in a privilege speech, showed a footage of Filipino boxer Johnriel Casimero being attacked by angry Argentinians after he defeated their own, Luiz Lazarte.
Casimero emerged victorious over Lazarte after their IBF Light Flyweight fight in Buenos Aires was stopped on the 10th round. Lazarte’s supporters then started throwing debris including chairs and bottles inside the ring. Casimero was able to escape unharmed thanks to his team who shielded their boxer with their own bodies, but some members of Casimero’s team were injured.
“Will we settle for this kind of bullying to Filipinos?” Sotto asked in his speech. “We must condemn in the strongest possible terms this attack on a Filipino sports hero and the entire Philippine delegation. Filipino boxers endure long hours of tedious physical training and they risk their lives in every fight they make. They are not just competing for themselves; they are competing for the country’s honor and pride. An insult to the Filipino contingent is an insult to our country.”
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile thus issued the order to the DFA to recall the Phillippines’ ambassador to Argentina, Rey Carandang. Enrile described it as “sordid and unfortunate incident, where our flag was actually dishonored.”
Enrile said during Wednesday’s session: “We direct the DFA to recall our ambassador to Buenos Aires and to call the ambassador of Argentina to this country to explain why they have the temerity to assault the flag, the honor, the dignity of this country represented by our boxer.” The Senate adopted Enrile’s motion as a resolution. Enrile cited as basis the Senate’s power to ratify international treaties and assignments of ambassadors. Senate foreign relations committee chair Loren Legarda clarified that the Philippines is not severing its ties with Argentina.
Legarda said the DFA will immediately be asked to report to the Senate the circumstances behind the incident.
“We are recalling the Philippine ambassador to Argentina so that they may explain to the Senate. We want to know whether they have provided the adequate security and support before and after the incident,” she said.
In a resolution introduced by Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, he asked the Senate Committee on Games and Amusements and other proper Senate committees to “conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the actions taken by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB)” prior to and after the fight.
Sen. Francis Escudero has also put to work sports officials and related agencies to come up with policies on how to prevent violent incidents in the future to protect national athletes.
“The least that government can do for our athletes in general is to show that they have our support,” said Escudero. “We ask them to carry our flag and compete with the highest possible degree of sportsmanship and excellence while representing our country. Government should be able to ensure their safety.” – Rappler.com