Palace congratulates Filipina lifter for silver medal finish in Rio Olympics

MANILA -– Malacañang on Monday joined the Filipino nation in congratulating President Rodrigo Duterte’s fellow Mindanaoan Hidilyn Diaz for ending the Philippines’ 20-year medal drought in Olympics in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

”On behalf of a proud nation, we congratulate Hidilyn Diaz for winning the Philippines’ first medal in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games,” Presidential Communications Operations (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar said in a press statement.

Diaz, a native of Zamboanga City, won her silver medal in the women’s 58kg class event which won by Chinese Hsu Shu-ching of Chinese Taipei via a record-breaking fashion.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said President Duterte is honored and proud of Diaz’s first Olympic medal after two straight field attempts.

”We extend our sincerest congratulations and celebrate the end of the medal drought. Truly change has come,” Abella said.

Before leaving for Rio Oympics, President Duterte inspired the 12-athlete Philippine team by increasing their allowance from USD1,000 to USD3,000 while from USD3,000 to USD 5,000 to officials.

Andanar said the story of Diaz is the story of Filipinos who brave life’s difficulties to excel in their respective endeavors even in the international arena of the world’s best competitors.

”Hers is about overcoming shyness but for an inspired nation, her road to Rio is a journey of grit, patience and determination which ended a 20-year long medal drought for the Philippines. Congratulations, Hidilyn, our first Olympic medalist from Mindanao,” Andanar said.

The last time the Philippines won its first medal was in 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games where boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco won the country’s second silver medal.

The country’s first ever silver medal was won by another boxer, Anthony Villanueva, in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

The Philippines has yet to win its Olympic gold medal since it joined the world’s most prestigious sports event in 1924.

With her inspiring performance, Diaz will receive PHP5 million cash incentives based on the newly-enacted Republic Act No. 10699 which expanded the coverage of incentives granted to national athletes and coaches. Jelly Musico/PNA/