Rich harvest of rewards for golden girl

Lawmakers hailed the victory of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz who won the country's first Olympic gold medal since it first joined the quadrennial event in 1921.

House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez called Diaz "a national treasure."

"Her name will be immortalized as the first Filipino to win a gold medal in the Olympics," he said.

"Hidilyn’s victory showcased the spirit of the Filipino to persevere against all odds. She displayed the grit and determination that our nation needs right now to be able to succeed in the global fight against COVID-19.”

Senators also filed separate resolutions congratulating and commending Diaz for bringing honor and glory to the country.

Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, author and sponsor of National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Law, described Diaz’s feat as “historic.”

Meanwhile, Megaworld Corp. announced it was giving a residential condominium unit worth P14 million in Eastwood City to Diaz, following her historic win that gave the Philippines its first Olympic gold edal.

“This epic moment is about 97 years in the making, and this is our way of saying thanks to Hidilyn for making us all proud,” said Kevin L. Tan, chief strategy officer at Megaworld Corp.

At least P33 million in cash rewards from the government and private sector also awaits Diaz after her triumph (see table – Editors).

President Rodrigo Duterte has also vowed to grant millions of pesos to anyone who will bag the gold medal, his spokesman Harry Roque said in a press briefing held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, without specifying the amount.

AirAsia Philippines, meanwhile, awarded her a lifetime of free flights, while Phoenix Petroleum said it would give her P5 million and lifetime free fuel.

“From fueling the dream, we now hope to fuel inspiration with this sponsorship. Our hope is that this is only the beginning of a golden era for Philippine sports and that more entities from all sectors extend support so we can have more golds in the future,” said Raymond Zorrilla, senior vice president at Phoenix Petroleum.

PHirst Park Homes Inc. (PPHI), the first home buyer brand of the Century Properties Group, and Mitsubishi Corporation both announced they were awarding Diaz a house and lot.

“On behalf of PHirst Park Homes and the entire Century Properties Group, we send our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Ms. Hidiyln Diaz for bringing home the gold and bringing pride to the Philippines,” said Century Properties Group Executive Chairman Jose E.B. Antonio.

The company is awarding the Filipino athlete with an Unna single-attached house and lot valued at P4 million at a PHirst Park Homes community of her choice.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco congratulated Diaz for her historic gold medal victory in the Summer Games.

“Thank you for claiming the country’s first Olympic gold medal. You have made us all proud,” he said.

Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles said he would file a resolution calling on the House to grant a Congressional Medal of Achievement to Diaz following her historic victory at the Tokyo Olympics.

“We have long waited for this gold medal, and it is just fit for the Philippine Congress to honor our first ever Olympic gold medalist a congressional commendation as her win brought our country not just great honor but immense pride and joy,” Nograles said.

“What makes this even sweeter is that Diaz also set two Olympic records in her win. This is truly a proud moment for Philippine sports,” the Rizal solon added.

Several resolutions honoring Diaz have already been filed.

Philippine Olympics Committee president and Tagaytay Rep. Abraham Tolentino filed House Resolution 1982 which recognizes Diaz as "truly a hero and definitely a treasure of the Philippines. She has brought tremendous pride and joy to the entire country."

"Her victory in the Tokyo Olympics showed that Filipinos can excel at the highest level in the world stage," Tolentino added.

The six-man Makabayan bloc led by Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Rep. Carlos Zarate cited not only the gold earned by Diaz, but also the new Olympic world record she achieved in the snatch category andthe total 224 total score she chalked.

“Despite the adversities, the red-tagging and financial challenges that came along with her bid for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, she managed to emerge victorious,” the group said.

Deputy Speaker and Cibac Rep. Eddie Villanueva, in his House Resolution 1991, commends and congratulates Diaz for the historic clinching of the country’s first Olympic gold medal.

Diaz is part of the 19-delegate Filipino Olympian team who flew to Japan to compete in 11 different events. The Philippines is currently ranked 19th, with 1 gold medal, among the more than 200 countries that sent participants.

Rep. Joseph Sto. Niño Bernos of Abra on Tuesday filed House Resolution 1989 to congratulate Diaz.

"Her perseverance and determination against all odds prove that we Filipinos can achieve great things in many fields," said Bernos, chairman of the House committee on Games and Amusement.

He added that Diaz is an inspiration to young Filipinos and to all athletes for showing that excellence can be achieved through hard work, intense faith, and support of fellow countrymen.

Two lawmakers from Mindanao also honored Diaz, who hails from Zamboanga City.

Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman and Anak Mindanao Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan said they, too, would file a resolution paying tribute to Diaz’s historic feat.

Sangcopan pointed out Diaz’s humble beginnings, as the youngest of six siblings growing up in a poor family in Zamboanga City.

“As a fellow Mindanaoan who also grew up in Zamboanga City, my heart is now overflowing with pride because of Hidilyn’s extraordinary accomplishment,” Sangcopan said.

“She persevered and did not let poverty stop her from pursuing her dreams. Many would have given up, but she continued on, focusing on what was important. Now, she is on top of the world,” she added.

He said Diaz would receive P10 million and an Olympic Gold Medal of Valor to be issued by the Philippine Sports Commission.

Her coaches, on the other hand, will receive the equivalent to 50 percent of the cash incentives for gold medalists or P5 million.

In case of more than one coach, the law states that the cash incentives will be divided among them.

Angara, Senator Francis Tolentino, and Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri filed a separate resolution that will establish the

Philippine Senate Medal of Honor in recognition of outstanding athletes, uniformed personnel, scientists, and exceptional individuals or institutions for their extraordinary service and invaluable contributions to nation-building.

As chairman of the Senate committee on sports, Senator Christopher Go thanked Diaz for giving Filipinos hope and bringing pride once more to the country.

Senator Panfilo Lacson proposed that the Armed Forces of the Philippines should give Diaz a rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the Philippine Air Force.

“She is now a duty sergeant, that is her rank in the Philippine Air Force. I think she deserves to be given a commissionship. A commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Philippine Air Force if the regulations or the AFP regulations would warrant it,” Lacson said.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said Diaz is truly an inspiration to all Filipinos on her dedication, on her perseverance and equally important, she was able to defeat China without going to war—a reference to President Duterte’s claim that to challenge Beijing would be to invite war.

Senator Grace Poe said for the first time in a long time, Filipinos shed tears of joy.

"Thank you, Hidilyn, for making your country proud and lifting the Filipino spirits to new heights," she said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed Senate Resolution 763, acknowledging Diaz’s dedication and sacrifice when she trained in Malaysia since February 2020.

Senator Pia Cayetano said the triumph of Diaz did not come without its own share of sacrifices, trials, and even defeats.

"Your Olympic gold-winning and record-breaking feat further proves that women athletes can excel with the right breaks, training, and support," she said.

"And I hope the future generation of young Filipinos will follow your lead-- hard work, dedication, faith and perseverance,” she added.

Senator Risa Hontiveros said, Diaz shines bright in the dark story of the pandemic.

"Her odyssey starting as a girl lifting plastic pipes and homemade concrete weights cast in old tin cans to her moving victory in Tokyo should serve as a reminder of every Filipina’s resilience in the face of adversity, perseverance despite uncertainty, and strength against all odds," said Hontiveros, chair of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality.

“The first Filipino Olympic champion is a woman. During one of the most difficult moments in world history, a Filipina did that against all odds— amid the pandemic, despite limited resources, and in spite of unnecessary political controversy. Ninety-seven years was worth the wait,” she said in her Senate Resolution No. 798.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon filed Senate Resolution No. 799 congratulating and commending Diaz for bringing honor and glory to the country.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and other ranking military officials expressed pride and lauded Diaz for her historic win.

"Her success is a testament to the unwavering spirit of the Filipino to rise above all odds," Lorenzana said in a statement.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said Diaz's historic feat brought "pride and glory" to the military and the country.

Sobejana said the entire AFP was inspired by Diaz's hard work, perseverance, and dedication.

"We wish her the best moving forward. Soar high, airwoman!" he added.

Topics: Hidilyn Diaz , Tokyo Olympics , Gold , Reward , Incentives
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