Other Tokyo medalists honored, too
Calling them modern-day heroes and giving them a rockstar welcome, House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco led his colleagues in bestowing congressional medals to the country’s first Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz and other 2020 Filipino Olympic medalists at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
“You have shown the world what Filipinos can achieve, despite facing the most difficult of circumstances. Your determination and fighting spirit have inspired countless Filipinos during these trying times,” Velasco told the athletes.
“You gave us hope. You gave us something to dream about. And in those shining moments of triumph, you have made all our kababayans extremely proud to be called Filipinos.”
Velasco also honored the athletes’ parents, loved ones, and families for their understanding and support, as well as their coaches and trainers for their perseverance and sacrifice for the country.
Diaz, together with Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial, went to the Batasang Pambansa complex on Tuesday to receive congressional honors.
As the first Filipino to ever win an Olympic gold, Diaz was conferred the inaugural Congressional Medal of Excellence, which is given exclusively to Filipino athletes who have won a gold medal in the Olympics.
Olympic silver medalists Petecio and Paalam and bronze medalist Marcial were awarded the Congressional Medal of Distinction, which is given to Filipino achievers in sports, business, medicine, science and other fields.
Diaz got the same award five years ago when she won a silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Velasco handed out to the four Olympic medalists the congressional medals and framed copies of the House-adopted resolutions congratulating and giving them congressional honor.
During the plenary session, Velasco also announced the adoption of House Resolution 198, congratulating and thanking the women and men of the Philippine delegation for their highly successful and historic performance in the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Philippine Olympic Committee president and Deputy Speaker Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and Philippine Sports Commission chair William Ramirez received a framed copy of the resolution on behalf of the Philippine Olympic delegation.
Earlier in the day, Velasco received the athletes during a courtesy call in his office.
Velasco hosted a luncheon in honor of the four Olympic medalists. He awarded certificates of recognition to their coaches and to 1996 Atlanta Olympic boxing silver medalist Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco Jr. during the luncheon.
Velasco likewise turned over to the Olympic medalists and their coaches the cash incentives collected from House members under the “pass the hat” drive initiated by the Speaker.
House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez led the separate resolutions of their citations that were earlier adopted by the House of Representatives.
“These sports heroes deserve to be recognized and commended for bringing pride, honor and inspiration especially to young Filipinos who want to excel in their fields,” Romualdez, chairman of the House Committee on Rules, said.
Velasco recognized Onyok’s inspirational win that paved the way for future Filipino athletes in bringing pride and glory to the country.
“Bago dumating ang pandemya, bago ang ating paglahok sa 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, 25 years ago, binigyan ng dangal at ibinalik ng isang Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco Jr. ang respeto ng mundo sa bansang Pilipinas sa ginanap na 1996 Summer Olympics,” the Speaker said.
The House chief added: “Facing world-class competition, he gave us a silver medal in boxing during the 1996 Summer Olympics. Sir Onyok, maraming salamat po sa inyong pagbibigay parangal sa aming paanyaya na kayo’y makapunta dito sa House of Representatives. Mabuhay ka Sir Onyok!”