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Education execs cite 3 Palaro gymnasts for honesty

/ 01:36 AM April 22, 2015

TAGUM CITY—Education officials have cited for honesty three gymnasts from Southern Mindanao who will compete in Palarong Pambansa here after they returned the P50,000 cash they found on the premises where they are billeted.

The athletes—Brian Albert Buhian, 15; Louie Villaforte, 16; and Janliver Estabaya, 14—handed over the money to their coach after stumbling on it at the vicinity of Tagum City National Comprehensive High School in Mankilam village past 7 p.m. on Sunday.

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The boys are members of the Davao Eagles Gymnastics team and are staying with the rest of the Davao Region Athletic Association (DAVRAA) delegation at the school.

They were heading back to their quarters after buying personal necessities at a store outside the school compound when they found the cash, their coach, Primitiva Lumen, said.

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“I was shocked upon seeing a bundle of money wrapped in bond paper on the ground as I was walking back to our quarters after buying mosquito coil at a store. I picked it up and put the money in my pocket and hurried back,” said Buhian, a Grade 8 student of Sinawilan National High School in Digos City, Davao del Sur province.

Buhian said he saw his teammates, Villaforte and Estabaya, and told them about his find. “Right then, I told them that we have to return the money,” he said.

The money, it turned out, was part of the allowance intended for players from Panabo City in Davao del Norte province, Estabaya said. “Earlier in the day, we saw someone give incentives (allowance) to Panabo players, so we’re certain the money we found was part of it,” he said.

Lumen said she appreciated what the boys did. “Since the start of the training, we’ve been emphasizing to our players the value of being honest. If a thing isn’t theirs, they should not keep it for themselves.”

For Buhian, it was the first time he got hold of such a huge amount of money.

“Keeping it never crossed my mind. I’m happy that it was already handed to the rightful owner. It felt good,” he said in the vernacular.

Jenielito Atillo, DAVRAA spokesperson, said the boys’ deed epitomized what a true sportsman should be.

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“We’re proud of what they did. Not only athleticism, sports also teaches good manners, honesty and other virtues. But most important, we want to extend our deepest gratitude to their parents because the boys were raised properly,” Atillo said.

The almost 700-strong delegation from Davao region is among the first of the 17 regional contingents to stay in 15 schools or billeting areas in Davao del Norte’s capital, where all of the events are to take place from May 3 to 9.

Atillo said delegation officials handed the money to a representative of the Panabo City government, who had inadvertently lost part of the incentive money during the distribution to players earlier that day.

“A double salute also for the kids and their parents, because if the three were not raised properly, the outcome would have been different, and the huge amount wouldn’t have been returned to its rightful owner.”

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