A CASH incentive worth over P30 million, a house and lot, and a condominium unit await Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz when she comes home after becoming the Philippines’ first ever Olympic gold medalist.
The 30-year-old Diaz defeated other competitors, including world record holder Liao Qiuyun of China, when she set a new Olympic record of 224 kilograms (total) in the women’s 55 kilograms weightlifting event in the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, July 26 at the Tokyo International Forum.
As per Republic Act 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act, Diaz is set to receive P10 million from the government through the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Filipino business tycoons Manny V. Pangilinan of PLDT and Ramon S. Ang of San Miguel also pledged P10 million each, while House Deputy Speaker Michael Romero pledged P3 million.
Additionally, Zamboanga City, Diaz’s hometown, will reward her with P2.5 million.
“We’re proud of her for giving Zamboanga and the Philippines our first Olympic gold medal,” said Zamboanga councilor and former national coach Elbert Atilano.
In total, Diaz will receive P35.5 million for ending the country’s gold-medal drought since it first participated in the Olympics in 1924.
But this may further increase with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of a monetary incentive.
“Milyun-milyon po ang pinangako ng Presidente para doon sa makakamit ng gintong medalya (The president has vowed to grant millions of pesos to anyone who will bag the gold medal),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Tuesday, July 27.
Malacañang previously congratulated Diaz for her golden performance.
“The Palace congratulates Hidilyn Diaz for bringing pride and glory to the Philippines for winning the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal,” said Roque.
“Congratulations, Hidilyn. The entire Filipino nation is proud of you. Laban, Pilipinas! (Fight Philippines!),” he added.
P14M condo unit
Aside from a cash bounty, Diaz will receive a P14-million condominium unit in Eastwood City from tycoon Andrew Tan of Megaworld Corporation.
“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,” Kevin Tan, Megaworld’s chief strategy officer, said Monday, July 26.
“We believe that it’s just right to give our first-ever Olympic gold medalist a home in our first-ever township, Eastwood City, where she can enjoy the township lifestyle with her family and loved ones,” he added.
Likewise, the Century Properties Group pledged a house and lot package to Diaz for “bringing home the gold and bringing pride to the Philippines.”
“Hidilyn’s story is every Filipino’s story of struggle and perseverance amidst adversities. She even improvised her own weightlifting equipment out of bamboo sticks and water bottles in order to train with her limited resources,” noted PHirst Park Homes, the company’s first home buyer brand.
Gold medal of valor
Alongside the monetary incentives, the PSC will also award Diaz a gold Medal of Valor for her historic Olympic performance.
While the sports agency had already prepared the medal, the design remained under wraps. However, the Philippine News Agency said in a report that the medal “will give honor to both sports and the nation’s symbols.”
Diaz is only the second athlete from the Philippines to win multiple Olympics medals, joining swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso who won the bronze in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke in both the 1928 Amsterdam and 1932 Los Angeles.
In 2016, she ended a 20-year medal drought for the country when she snagged the silver medal in the 53kg weightlifting division during the Rio Games. She was also the first Filipina athlete to step onto an Olympic podium.
The Tokyo Games is the fourth Olympic event Diaz has participated in, having first competed in the 2008 Beijing Games.