MANILA — Malacañang on Tuesday acknowledged that government aid for athletes is insufficient, an issue that Hidilyn Diaz, the Philippines' first ever Olympic gold medallist, previously raised.
Diaz on Monday won the women's 55-kilogram category for weightlifting at Tokyo 2020, after lifting a combined weight of 224 kg, an Olympic record. In 2019, she had to solicit financial support for her Olympic bid.
“Alam ko po talaga kulang. Para ba hong, para nga pong minimum wage nga lang ang nabibigay nating allowance doon sa mga atleta natin. Titingnan po natin kung paano po natin mababago ito,” said Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
(I know it's really insufficient, it's as if the allowance we give to our athletes just equals the minimum wage. We will look into how we can change this.)
“Napakita natin na ganoong kulang talaga ang suporta natin, nananalo pa rin ng ginto. Siguro mas maraming mananalo ng ginto kung medyo itataas natin ang tulong na maibibigay natin sa mga atleta,” he said in a press briefing.
(We have shown that while our support is lacking, we still win gold, and perhaps more will will if increase the help we give to athletes.)
Diaz's victory, he said, could be “a game changer for Philippine sports.”
“Ito po ‘yong dahilan siguro para pag-isipan ng ating mga policy-makers na kinakailangan talaga maglaan ng mas malaking support sa ating mga atleta dahil ‘yong kanila namang mga panalo e panalo ng buong Pilipinas at hindi lang ng ating mga manlalaro,” Roque said.
(This is perhaps a reason for our policy-makers to think that more support is needed for our athletes because their triumph is a triumph of the whole Philippines, not just of our players.)
He said the government and the private sector have promised “millions” for Olympic gold medalists like Diaz.
“Kung ano man ang pagkukulang sa training, I’m sure na mababawi po lahat ‘yan doon sa generosity hindi lang ng pamahalaan, kundi ng pribadong sektor, dahil she truly made us proud,” he said.
(Whatever was the shortcoming in training, I'm sure that could be compensated from the generosity not just of government, but the private sector, because she truly made us proud.)
— With a report from Reuters