By Kier Edison C. Belleza
Cebu City – The Cebu City government yesterday awarded two present day heroes.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña along with the city’s Cultural and Historical Affairs Office (CHAO) awarded Cebuana Marathoner Mary Joy Tabal with a Modern Day Hero plaque in recognition of her achievement for representing the Philippines and grabbing the country’s first gold medal early this month, at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
According to Osmeña, Tabal is a model worthy of emulation by the Cebuano youth and that it is but just right that on National Heroes Day, “those who have made their sacrifices and those who are continuing to make their sacrifices” will be acknowledged.
Where can you find someone who is undersize and underweight who beat the world and is now an inspiration to all of us because she’s teaching us how to be a winner,” he said.
The second modern hero who was given a posthumous award was Crisanto Amoranto who was gunned down when he attempted to help an unidentified woman who was being robbed.
Tabal, the athlete
Living in a mountain barangay of Guba, Cebu, is where Tabal started to shape her Olympic dreams. It was her Physical Education teacher in elementary, Ronnie Gonzales, who spotted her potential in the field of running.
In her first 10,000-meter race, she collapsed but instead of getting discouraged, she perservered. Two years later, at the Milo Marathon, she dethroned the former champion and topped the women’s division title for four straight years – 2014 to 2016.
The 28-year-old Olympian was the first Filipino to qualify for the Olympics as she finished the race in 2 hours, 43 minutes and 29 seconds in the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon last year. She won a silver medal in the women’s marathon competition in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
Tabal would give her prizes to her parents to provide for their needs.
After receiving the Modern Day Hero award Monday at the Plaza Sugbu, Tabal said it has motivated her to continue to serve as an inspiration to the youth to show that no matter what life throws at you, move on.
“To be called as a modern day hero, comes with great responsibility. For me, I am tasked to be a role model and to continue to be an inspiration to the younger generation,” she said.
“My height is only 4’11 but I was able to represent Cebu in an international competition and I won. So, let’s continue dreaming. Let’s make Cebu the place where champions are made,” she added.
The Cebu City government, according to earlier reports, will also grant Tabal P500,000 as refund for her expenses for training for the 29th Sea Games training.
Meanwhile, the family of the late Crisanto Amoranto was also given a Posthumous Award after he was gunned down for helping a woman who was being robbed last July 26.
He intervened to stop the crime but the man who police identified as Rolando Ybanez who attempted to rob the unidentified woman shot Amoranto the next day while he was waiting for a jeepney ride in Barangay Carreta here.
Amoranto, as the family’s breadwinner, had wanted to be a civil engineer but was unable to do so due to financial constraints. He was working in a fastfood restaurant.
“Though he died, he left behind the light of inspiration, a legacy of courage and selflessness,” CHAO Officer-in-charge Annabeth Cuizon said.
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