LEYTE Rep. Yedda Romualdez yesterday joined solons in hailing Hidilyn Diaz as a symbol of Filipino strength after the Pinay athlete won for the Philippines its first Olympic medal after 20 years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Romualdez said Diaz’s victory at the women’s 53-kilogram category in weightlifting in the 2016 Rio Olympics is another indisputable proof that Filipino is a world-class athlete of its own.
The lady solon added Diaz proved that with solid determination and hard work, the Filipino can triumph over other races.
“She is a symbol of the Filipino’s strength. I extend my unfathomable congratulations to Ms. Diaz. She will be an added inspiration for us. I urge other athletes to follow her footsteps by putting their hearts and souls into their chosen sport on their journey to victory and honor of our country,” said Romualdez.
Malacañang also praised yesterday female weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz’s silver medal win at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
In congratulating Diaz, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said President Rodrigo Duterte and Malacañang Palace are honored and proud of Diaz’s achievement.
“We extend our sincerest congratulations and celebrate the end of the medal drought. Truly change has come,” Abella told Palace reporters yesterday.
Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar highlighted Diaz’s journey to Rio.
“The inspiring story of Diaz is the story of Filipinos. Bespectacled and standing at 5’2”, Hidilyn, who hails from Zamboanga City, took up weightlifting from a relative who taught her the sports. Hers is about overcoming shyness but for an inspired nation, her road to Rio is a journey of grit, patience and determination which ended a 20-year long medal drought for the Philippines,” he said.
Diaz, meanwhile, is expected to get more than just accolades.
She is entitled to a P5 million reward for winning the silver medal in the Olympics, according to Republic Act 10699 signed by former President Benigno Aquino III in November 2015.
Section 12 of RA 10699 also stated that the amount for cash incentives as well as retirement benefits for the athlete will be from the net cash income of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). It will be remitted directly as a special account to the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) of the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission).
1PACMAN party-list Rep. Mikee Romero, who was the Philippine delegation head during the 2012 Olympics, said Diaz’s second place finish should be expected to motivate both Filipino athletes and the private sector in pursuing a better finish in other international sporting events.
“I am very optimistic that cash incentives for the next Olympics will be double than what our athletes are getting now. Hidilyn has renewed our hopes for greatness in sports,” said Romero.
Cavite Rep. Strike Revilla filed House Resolution (HR) No. 155 congratulating and commending Diaz.
“It is hereby resolved by the House of Representatives to commend Ms. Hidilyn Diaz for her victory and performance at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,” said Revilla.
Another resolution commending Diaz was filed by Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) party-list Reps. Jericho Jonas Nograles and Mark Aeron Sambar and Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles.
Senators joined in rejoicing the historic silver medal win of 25-year old weightlifter.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said he is proud of the achievement of Diaz who also is from Mindanao.
Senator Nancy Binay acknowledged the triumph of Diaz which symbolizes the confidence and patience of Filipino, especially women.
“Kinikilala rin natin na ang tagumpay ni Bb. Diaz ay tagumpay rin ng ating mga kababaihan, bilang kauna-unahang Pilipina na nagkamit ng medalya sa Olympics. Sinisimbolo ni Bb. Diaz ang lakas ng loob at pagtitiyaga na ipinapakita ng mga Pilipino sa pagharap nito sa anumang pagsubok,” said Binay in a statement.
Senator Grace Poe said, “Mabuhay ka, Hidilyn Diaz! Ang iyong panalo sa Rio 2016 ay isang karangalan para sa bansa. Simbolo ka ng tibay at lakas ng Pilipino!”
Other senators who gave congratulatory messages were Senator Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito and Risa Hontiveros.