TOKYO Olympic medalists (from left) Carlo Paalam, Hidilyn Diaz, Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Felix Marcial. — PSC FB PAGE

FOLLOWING the breakthrough showing of Team Philippines in the recent Olympic Games in Tokyo, President Rodrigo R. Duterte underscored the need to sustain the gains made moving forward.

Speaking at the ceremonies honoring the country’s Olympians and awarding of their incentives in Malacañang on Monday night, Mr. Duterte said that what the Filipino athletes achieved in Tokyo, including winning the country’s first-ever gold medal, is something to celebrate and should not be put to waste.

The President asked sports officials and agencies to continue rallying behind the athletes to help ensure their success be sustained while at the same time fine-tuning their programs for thorough development.

“I enjoin the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee and other sports bodies to continue providing much-needed assistance to keep our athletes on top of their game and become all-time greats,” said Mr. Duterte, who was joined by key government officials in the half-hour-long ceremonies.

Also during the event, Mr. Duterte handed out incentives to the Olympians and medalists as well as citations for their achievements.

The incentives and monetary awards were based on the provisions of Republic Act 10699, or the expanded incentives act.

Leading the awardees were weightlifter and gold medalist Hidilyn F. Diaz, boxers and silver medalists Carlo Paalam and Nesthy A. Petecio, and boxer and bronze medalist Eumir Felix D. Marcial.

Ms. Diaz received P10 million as mandated by the law, P5 million from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. for setting a new Olympic record (lifting 127 kg in the clean and jerk), a certificate of turnover of a housing unit from the National Housing Authority (NHA), P3 million from the Office of the President (OP), and a presidential medal of merit.

Ms. Petecio and Mr. Paalam each received P5 million from the PSC, a certificate of turnover of a housing unit from NHA, and P2 million from the OP while Mr. Marcial received P2 million as mandated by law and an additional P1 million from the OP.

The three boxers were also awarded the Order of Lapu-Lapu with the rank of Kamagi.

Also given incentives by the OP and presidential citations were the 15 other athletes who saw action in the Tokyo Olympics. They each received P200,000. Present to receive their incentives were shooter Jayson Valdez and weightlifter Elreen Ann Ando.

Silver medalist in the 1996 Atlanta Games Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco also received P500,000 from the OP and was given the Order of Lapu-Lapu with the rank of Kamagi.

“I congratulate you once again for bringing pride and honor to the country and for uplifting the spirit of the Filipinos amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Your hard work, dedication, and sportsmanship even amid the challenges in your training and competition prior to the Olympics are truly inspiring,” Mr. Duterte said.

The one gold, two silvers and one bronze medal haul of the Philippines in Tokyo was the best showing to date by the country in nearly a century of participation in the Olympic Games. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo