MANILA, Philippines – Asian Games medalists got yet another surprise waiting for them in Malacañang as they received presidential citations from President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, September 12.
Gold medalists received an additional P1 million each from the Office of the President (OP), and silver medalists another P500,000, said Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.
This means that gold medal winners like weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and skateboarder Margielyn Didal now have P8 million each from their victory in Indonesia, said Go.
This is broken down as follows, according to Go: P2 million each from the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), P1 million from the Siklab Foundation of Presidential Adviser on Sports Dennis Uy; P1 million from the Philippine embassy in Indonesia, P1 million "bonus" from PSC through Duterte's directive, and P1 million from OP.
Bronze medalists, meanwhile, got another P200,000 from OP.
Dabbing with Didal
During the awarding ceremony in the Palace, Duterte got to interact with the medalists, even learning how to dab from skateboarder Didal.
The 73-year-old President also appeared to be curious about Didal's fade haircut as he gestured towards it, to the amusement of the young athlete.
Duterte posed for a photo with all the medalists; Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, the Philippine team's chef de mission; POC leaders like president Ricky Vargas and vice president Abraham Tolentino; and PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez.
The presidential citation for the athletes lauds their "admirable achievement in the field of sports" and thanks them for "bringing pride, honor, and joy to the Filipino nation."
GOLDEN GIRLS. President Duterte poses for a photo with Asian Games gold-medal winners Hidilyn Diaz of weigthlifting, skateboarding's Margielyn Didal, golf's Yuka Saso. RTVM screenshot
In his short message, Duterte said he was "immensely proud" of the athletes before him.
"The entire country looks forward to your next win as you secure your place in your respective fields and wave our flag high and proud for the world to see.... Mabuhay ang atletang Pilipino (Long live the Filipino athlete)," said the Chief Executive.
Go later told reporters that the PSC may expect a budget increase in the coming year.
"I think mag-iincrease tayo in budget ng PSC. Priority talaga ni Pangulo kaya binigay niya ng panahon ngayon sa send-off and then awarding (I think there will be an increase in the PSC budget. Its really a priority of the President, that's why he devoted time for the send-off and then the awarding)," said Go. – Rappler.com