Senator Leila M. de Lima has commended triathlete John “Rambo” Chicano for serving as an inspiration and a source of hope for those who were also born poor by capturing the country’s first gold medal in men’s triathlon in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said Chicano’s victory gave his fellow Filipinos here and abroad “a story of hope” that they can all hold on to, especially in times of woe and despair.
“Isa na naman itong patunay na ang mga taong nakakaranas ng malalakas na hagupit ng buhay—iyong mga kababayan nating nasasantabi at nasa laylayan—ay may kakayahang bumangon at magtagumpay,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 665.
“Dumarating man ang mga pagsubok at panghihina ng loob, makakaya pa rin nating sumulong at magwagi basta may determinasyon at tiwala sa sarili,” she added.
Chicano gave the Philippines’ first win and its first medal overall in the regional meet by finishing with a time of 1:53:26 at Subic Bay Boardwalk last Dec. 1. He reportedly dominated the biking and running phases en route to his breakthrough win.
Before his success, Chicano reportedly worked as a janitor and helper to support his child at a bike shop that turned out to be owned by the coach of the national triathlon team, Melvyn Fausto, who later trained the former to become a professional triathlete.
The lady Senator from Bicol said Chicano’s struggle as a janitor raising his own family mirrors the story of every ordinary Filipino who is trying to success in a world “where opportunities come rarely to those who need it most.”
“His triumph would be their narrative too, should they be given access to the necessary resources to make it,” she said.
“Ang kanyang kuwento ay patunay na ang bawat buhay ay maaring maging balon ng pag-asa at tagumpay kung kaya’t hindi dapat sinasayang, bagkus ay binibigyan ng pagkakataon upang mamuhay nang malaya at may dignidad, kaakibat ng lahat ng oportunidad upang makalaban nang patas sa buhay,” she added.
De Lima said Chicano and the likes of him who came from humble beginnings and succeeded in life will continue to inspire Filipinos who work hard to fulfill their dreams no matter the circumstances.
“Mabuhay ka, John Chicano! Maraming salamat sa inspirasyon. Ikaw at ang mga katulad mo ang nagbibigay ng pag-asa sa marami nating mga kababayan,” she said.