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MANUEL V. Pangilinan’s moniker as MVP was made all the more accurate during the 4th Philippine Sports Tourism Awards after being recognized as the private sector’s Sports Tourism Personality of the Year for 2019.
The award cited MVP’s immense contributions to the sports tourism sector in the country. After serving as the first-ever president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, Mr. Pangilinan went on to found the MVP Sports Foundation, which provided a good cross section of sports with the proper funding and training to produce world-class athletes.
Under his leadership, the country’s largest integrated telco PLDT and its wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) were also able to deploy fixed and wireless networks in New Clark City as part of preparations for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games. Aside from rolling out fiber infrastructure and cell sites, Smart also augmented its capacity and coverage in key areas around the NCC in anticipation of the heavy influx of crowds during the competition. PLDT and Smart were also the official telecom partners of the 2019 SEA Games.
In his acceptance speech presented by SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios, MVP reflected the PSTA mission in upholding sports as a major pillar in Philippine tourism. “The unquantifiable benefits alone make strong case for investing in sports. But today, we are recognizing a more direct and tangible benefit — how sports could encourage tourism, and how it might eventually serve as a catalyst for economies, both local and national,” said Mr. Pangilinan.
While the absence of sports activities this year has left a dent on the sports tourism sector, various international sporting events in the country are already planned and laid out for the near future; with the goal of reigniting the spirit of sports and ramping up tourism. One such event is the highly anticipated FIBA World Cup. The Philippines, through the initiatives of Mr. Pangilinan will be hosting the international competition in 2023 alongside Japan and Indonesia. And, following the successful stint of Gilas Pilipinas in Bahrain last November, FIBA has recently announced that Clark in the Philippines will be one the host cities for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, with Doha in Qatar, Tokyo in Japan, and Manama in Bahrain.
“This award is not a culmination of the work we’ve rendered, but a mandate to push the envelope. Sports remains a high-potential investment for our country, and I consider it an honor to be able to continue supporting its development. We can improve our sporting landscape for the benefit of our athletes and, ultimately, for that of the greater Philippine nation,” he added.
The 4th Sports Tourism Awards, held in Clark Freeport, was presented by Clark Development Corp. and Selrahco Management in collaboration with the Department of Tourism and the Philippines Sports Commission, and supported by Smart Communications, Coca Cola Beverages Philippines, Universal Robina Corp., and City of Mabalacat.
Other awardees in the 4th Philippine Sports Tourism Awards include People’s Television Network for News Coverage of the Year, New Clark City for Sports Venue of the Year, Dumaguete City for Sports Organizer of the Year (government), Sunrise Events, Inc. for Organizer of the Year (private), Tour de Cebu for Adventure Event of the Year, Philippine Airlines for Airline of the Year, Resorts World Manila for Charity Event of the Year, Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines for Event Sponsorship of the Year, The Mansion Boutique Hotel and Villas for Hotel of the Year, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority for Destination Marketing of the Year, Triathlon Association of the Philippines for Sports Association of the Year, TINMAN Ilocos Norte for Event of the Year (domestic), IRONMAN 70.3 as Event of the Year (international), Mayor Felipe Remollo for Sports Tourism Personality of the Year (government), and Clark Freeport Zone for Sports Tourism Destination of the Year.