BOHOL – Even Governor Arthur Yap couldn’t believe his eyes when a well-built, 71-year-old fisherman was introduced to him as a Boholano boxer, who represented the Philippines in the 1968 Mexico Olympics.
“How on earth did we have our very own Olympian and not know about it?” Yap asked his staff when they first met in December last year.
Before him was Teogenes Pelegrino, a featherweight, who lost in the second round of the Mexico Olympics boxing competitions to eventual silver medalist Al Robinson of the United States.
Pelegrino, who is from the municipality of Guindulman here, turned professional after the Olympics, fought 32 fights, and became the no. 3 contender in the featherweight class.
After his boxing career, Pelegrino decided to return to Guindulman, and settle down.
Since then, Pelegrino has been a fisherman, according to Ven Arigo of the Provincial Information and Media Relations (PRIMER) office.
But two years ago, the fishing boat he had been using since his return to Guindulman finally gave up on him.
This was the reason he found himself at the Bohol provincial capitol last Wednesday, January 20.
Fulfilling a promise he made during their first meeting, Yap turned over to him a brand new fishing boat, which was later transported to Pelegrino’s home in Barangay Basdio in Guindulman.
Pelegrino said he had been asking for assistance from the provincial government even before Yap became governor so that he could get a replacement for his battered boat to no avail.
Yap recalled his chance meeting with Peligrino in December last year, as he expressed astonishment and dismay how such a precious Boholano could have gone into hard times without the provincial government giving him a helping hand.
According to Arigo, Yap asked the former Olympian what the provincial government could do for him if only to repay him for the recognition and honor he brought to Bohol.
All Pelegrino asked for was a new fishing boat.
“This is one of the reasons why I am a public servant,” Yap said who requested the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) here to transport the boat to Pelegrino’s hometown.