Press Release
May 18, 2006

"Like winning an Olympic Gold"

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today congratulated Leo Oracion and Erwin "Pastor" Emata, the very first Filipinos to set foot on the summit of Mt. Everest and the rest of the First Philippine Mount Everest Expedition (FPMEE).

She called the Everest conquest "a testament to the Filipino's strength of will, stamina and character."

"The Everest conquest is akin to our country winning an Olympic Gold," said Cayetano, a sports enthusiast and member of the Philippine National Duathlon Team.

She said high-altitude climbing is a relatively unexplored adventure sport where Filipinos have proven that they could excel. "Ascending Everest entails months, even years of planning, training and acclimatization, especially for Filipinos who are used to tropical weather."

Cayetano likewise lauded the two rival TV networks, ABS-CBN and GMA, for treating Filipino viewers to a blow-by-blow account of the separate Filipino expeditions to Mt. Everest and for their fairness and professionalism in handling the coverage of the event.

"The fact is that a Filipino has finally conquered the tallest mountain on earth since it was first scaled 53 years ago. This news was relayed back home with dispatch and without a self-serving spin by both networks."

She added: "What has been billed as a race to the summit between rival networks did not matter, for in the end, it was a conquest for and on behalf of all Filipinos."

Cayetano intends to file her own resolution honoring the feat of Oracion, Emata and the entire Everest team.

"The Everest conquest shows the world-class stuff that Filipino athletes are made of. With proper training and support, our athletes can conquer anything."

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