MANILA — Malacañang on Monday thanked Filipino athletes and their support teams for clinching the country's most successful run in the Olympics, which it said provided "hope" in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Weightlifting star Hidilyn Diaz brought home the Philippines' first Olympic gold. Boxers Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio copped silver medals, while Eumir Marcial secured bronze.
"Nagpapasalamat tayo sa lahat ng mga atleta, sa kanilang coaches, trainers, at mentors, at sa sambayanang Pilipino sa kanilang walang sawang suporta," said Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
(We thank all athletes, their coaches, trainers, and mentors, and the Filipino people for their enduring support.)
"We needed those medals at this time in our history. Sa gitna ng pandemya, they provided us hope na kahit gaano kahirap ang buhay na ngayon, magwawagi rin tayo," he said in a press briefing.
(In the middle of a pandemic, they provided us hope that no matter how difficult life is, we could triumph.)
The official told the country's athletes: "Let us seize this moment and sustain the momentum in Paris 2024."
Video courtesy of PTV
Roque said it was "perhaps not a coincidence" that the Philippines recorded its best Olympic finish under President Rodrigo Duterte's term.
"The figures will bear me out, talaga naman pong nagtanim at nag-invest ang ating Pangulo sa ating mga atleta."
"Kauna-unahang panahon po, record po ang suportang pinansyal na ibinigay natin sa ating mga atleta at nakita naman natin ang naging prutas ng ganiyang prutas. Ang tingin ko po patuloy ang ating investment sa ating athletes."
(Our President invested in our athletes. For the first time ever, we gave record financial support to our athletes and we saw its fruit. I think we will continue the investment in our athletes.)
Roque did not say how much the government shelled out.
Last July, he admitted government aid for athletes was insufficient, an issue that Diaz previously raised.
Diaz in 2019 had to solicit financial support for her Olympic bid.