Twenty years after he won the silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco is still pursuing the P2.5 million incentive promised to him.
Velasco nearly won the gold in the light flyweight division but settled for silver after losing a controversial match against Bulgaria’s Daniel Petrov.
He returned home as a hero and was awarded a P1.1 million incentive.
"May binigay po sa akin na P750,000 tapos may binago silang batas yata,” Onyok told ABS-CBN News’ Dyan Castillejo. “Nakakuha po ako ng P1.1 million.”
But Velasco was reportedly promised to be given more.
Velasco said there was a proposal filed in the House of Representatives to grant him more incentives. Unfortunately, the counterpart measure in the Senate was not passed as the upper house was facing a leadership dispute that time.
“Ang P2.5 million sa Congress po iyon, ang House speaker pa po noon si Jose de Venecia. Kasi ipapasa pa sa Congress then sa Senate po. 'Yung time noon, nagpapalitan pa si Neptali Gonzales at si [Ernesto] Maceda po,” he said.
Velasco met with senator and boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday to appeal his case.
Pacquiao promised to help his fellow boxer.
“Para sa akin tax free na yun. Incentive naman yun sa kanya para sa karangalan na ibinigay niya sa ating bansa. 'Yun ang importante, i-follow up natin ‘yan para makuha naman niya,” said the eight-division former world champion.
Velasco was the last Filipino Olympian who won a medal for the Philippines before weight lifter Hidilyn Diaz ended the drought with a silver medal finish 20 years later.
He said he was supposed to use the money to put up a boxing gym that will help train future champions.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)