The House of Representatives on Monday adopted a resolution conveying its condolences to the family of the “Sprint Queen of Asia” Ms. Lydia De Vega-Mercado and paying homage to her contributions to the country as a world-class athlete.
House Resolution (HR) 231 is principally authored by Speaker Martin G. Romualdez, Majority Leader and Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe, Minority Leader and 4Ps Party-list Rep. Marcelino Libanan, Tingog Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez, senior Deputy Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand Alexander Marcos, and Deputy Majority Leader and Tingog Party-list Rep. Jude Acidre.
The adoption was in consolidation of related HRs 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, and 228.
“Ms. Lydia De Vega-Mercado not only brought honor, pride and unparalleled distinction to our beloved country, but inspired so many more athletes to follow suit and follow their dreams. Ms. De Vega has virtually put our country on the map by being, at one time, the ‘fastest woman in Asia,” Speaker Romualdez said.
“Her legacy will live on in the hearts of millions of Filipinos who will remember her name and her legacy as one of the best and brightest shining stars of Philippine sports,” the Speaker added.
The resolution will be presented to the family of Ms. De Vega, who passed away at the age of 57 last August 10.
“Resolved by the House of Representatives, to convey its profound condolences to the family of Lydia De Vega-Mercado, sprint queen of Asia and one of the greatest Filipino athletes of all time,” the resolution read.
“It is indeed with great sorrow that the country lost a word-class athlete with the untimely passing of Lydia de Vega-Mercado, but herlegacy lives on and she will always be remembered as one of the greatest Filipino sports icons who brought great honor and pride to the country,” it added.
She was born on December 26, 1964 in Meycauayan, Bulacan to parents Mary De Vega and Francisco “Tatang” De Vega, who was her running coach and a great influence in shaping her sports career. She was married to Paul Mercado and left behind three children.
“At a young age, Lydia De Vega-Mercado showed exemplary performance in the Palarong Pambansa and played for the Far Eastern University at the University Athletic Association of the Philippines track and field competition,” the resolution continued.
“At the age of 16, Ms. De Vega-Mercado found her way to the national team and won the gold medal in the 200-meter dash and 400-meter run in the 1981 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games held at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila,” according to the resolution.
She then went on to win several medals, including nine gold medals, nine silver medals and two bronze medals in the SEA Games; back-to-back gold medals in the 1982 and 1986 Asian Games; gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter events in the 1983 and 1987 Asian Athletics Championships; and her personal best record of 11.28 seconds during the 100-meter dash event at the 1987 SEA Games “remained undisputed for over three decades.”
“A two-time Olympian, Ms. De Vega-Mercado represented the Philippines in the 100-meter and 200-meter events at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and 100-meter event at 1988 Seoul Olympics. In 1994, Ms. De Vega-Mercado successfully ended her track and field career by winning the gold medal in the 100-meter dash at the Manila- Fujian Games,” the resolution stated.
She also entered politics, serving as councilor of Meycauayan, Bulacan in 2005. But her passion really is sports, as she also became the liaison officer of the Alliance of Coaches and Athletes of the Philippines in the Philippine Sports Commission and a sports coach in the Philippines National Sprints, Singapore Disability Sports Council National Team, and in various local schools in Singapore.
“For her exemplary contribution to Philippine sports, Lydia De Vega-Mercado received several recognitions including the Ten Outstanding Young Men – Sports Category award in 1993 and the Palarong Pambansa Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018,” said the resolution.
“In 2019, she served as one of the country’s flag bearers during the opening ceremony of the 2019 SEA Games. As one of the most recognizable female athletes in the country, Lydia De Vega-Mercado’s passion, strength, brilliance and discipline made her a great role model for the younger generations of Filipino athletes in reaching their full potential and achieving their goals.”