Duterte pledges P3M, house and lot to Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz

WARM WELCOME. Filipina Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz arrived home from Tokyo, on Wednesday, July 28. Upon her arrival, Diaz changed into her Philippine Air Force uniform. Following her golden feat, Diaz was promoted from sergeant to staff sergeant effective Tuesday, July 27. The pride of Zamboanga City was welcomed by members of the Philippine Air Force, the Philippine Olympic Committee, and the Philippine Sports Committee, who all waited for her just outside NAIA Terminal 2. Philippine Sports Committee photo

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has extended his congratulations to Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz with several incentives.

To reward the Filipina weightlifter for claiming the country’s first-ever Olympic gold, the chief executive pledged a money incentive worth P3 million as well as a “fully-furnished” house and lot in Zamboanga City.

The cash grant from Duterte will be on top of the P10 million that Diaz is set to receive from the government through the Philippine Sports Commission, as provided under the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.

The pledge from the president is in addition to incentives over P50 million that the gold medalist is expected to receive from other sources.

Duterte also said that Diaz will receive the Presidential Medal of Merit, “one of the highest of the nation’s presidential medals,” through an “appropriate” ceremony.

“As expected the nation is ecstatic about your achievement. Your achievement is the achievement of the Philippine nation. We are extremely proud. We cannot express even in the words how we should really be shouting Hallelujah,” Duterte said in a courtesy call Wednesday, July 28, after Diaz returned to the country.

“But, over and above for this monetary consideration, it’s always the honor that you brought to the country,” he added.

The 30-year-old Diaz ruled the women’s 55 kilograms weightlifting event in the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, July 26 at the Tokyo International Forum.

With her victory, she ended the country’s gold-medal drought since it first participated in the Olympics in 1924. The Philippines now has a total of 11 medals: one gold, three silver, and seven bronze.

‘Forget disappointments’

In his call with Diaz, Duterte advised the Pinay athlete to “forget” about the unpleasant events she experienced in the past.

“Salamat naman sa pagtiis mo (Thank you for how you’ve endured). I hope that the years of toils, the years of disappointments, and the years na hindi maganda ang nangyari (of bad memories that you have) in the past, just forget them,” he said.

“You already have the gold. Gold is gold. It can be good for you to just let bygones be bygones and dwell solely on your victory together with your family and, of course, with the nation,” he added.

In 2019, Diaz was among the public figures tagged in a so-called “matrix” to destabilize the government. The diagram was released by then-presidential spokesperson and incumbent Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.

Duterte also told Diaz that she can serve the country in another capacity.

“Put your life in order you’ve been blessed by God. This [amount] is not big, but it is also not small. This will go a long way to help your family. You know the struggle of life is a long, long process. You are already a celebrity, [your fame] is a political stock, so keep note of that,” he said.

“One day you’d want also to maybe help the country in some other way other than being a soldier,” he added. n PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has extended his congratulations to Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz with several incentives.

To reward the Filipina weightlifter for claiming the country’s first-ever Olympic gold, the chief executive pledged a money incentive worth P3 million as well as a “fully-furnished” house and lot in Zamboanga City.

The cash grant from Duterte will be on top of the P10 million that Diaz is set to receive from the government through the Philippine Sports Commission, as provided under the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.

The pledge from the president is in addition to incentives over P50 million that the gold medalist is expected to receive from other sources.

Duterte also said that Diaz will receive the Presidential Medal of Merit, “one of the highest of the nation’s presidential medals,” through an “appropriate” ceremony.

“As expected the nation is ecstatic about your achievement. Your achievement is the achievement of the Philippine nation. We are extremely proud. We cannot express even in the words how we should really be shouting Hallelujah,” Duterte said in a courtesy call Wednesday, July 28, after Diaz returned to the country.

“But, over and above for this monetary consideration, it’s always the honor that you brought to the country,” he added.

The 30-year-old Diaz ruled the women’s 55 kilograms weightlifting event in the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, July 26 at the Tokyo International Forum.

With her victory, she ended the country’s gold-medal drought since it first participated in the Olympics in 1924. The Philippines now has a total of 11 medals: one gold, three silver, and seven bronze.

‘Forget disappointments’

In his call with Diaz, Duterte advised the Pinay athlete to “forget” about the unpleasant events she experienced in the past.

“Salamat naman sa pagtiis mo (Thank you for how you’ve endured). I hope that the years of toils, the years of disappointments, and the years na hindi maganda ang nangyari (of bad memories that you have) in the past, just forget them,” he said.

“You already have the gold. Gold is gold. It can be good for you to just let bygones be bygones and dwell solely on your victory together with your family and, of course, with the nation,” he added.

In 2019, Diaz was among the public figures tagged in a so-called “matrix” to destabilize the government. The diagram was released by then-presidential spokesperson and incumbent Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.

Duterte also told Diaz that she can serve the country in another capacity.

“Put your life in order you’ve been blessed by God. This [amount] is not big, but it is also not small. This will go a long way to help your family. You know the struggle of life is a long, long process. You are already a celebrity, [your fame] is a political stock, so keep note of that,” he said.

“One day you’d want also to maybe help the country in some other way other than being a soldier,” he added.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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