The House of Representatives yesterday conferred the Congressional Medal of Distinction to Philippine sports heroine Hidilyn Diaz for giving pride and honor to the country in winning a silver medal in the recently-concluded Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
1Pacman Partylist Rep. Mikee Romero said House members were also able to raise some P1.4 million as additional cash incentive for Diaz who finally brought home an Olympic medal after 20 years of drought.
Before the presentation of the award at the House plenary hall, the new sports idol was accompanied by Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat to key leaders of the chamber headed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
Aside from Alvarez and Romero, Diaz was also given a warm welcome by Reps. Mark Sambar and Jericho Nograles (PBA Partrylist), Eric Pineda (1Pacman Partylist) and Alfredo Garbin (Ako Bicol Partylist).
Romero disclosed that House members contributed at least P5,000 each deductible from their salary in order to raise the additional financial incentive for Diaz.
The gold-plated Medal of Distinction has previously been awarded to another sports icon, former Saranggani congressman and now Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao received two congressional medals for his world professional boxing feat.
Diaz, a Zamboanga City native, will also receive a copy of House Resolution 175 honoring her for the silver medal finish. The resolution consolidated at least 35 proposed measures authored by nearly 100 solons.
Alvarez and Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas are principal authors of HR 175. Sports leaders among House members aired optimism that Diaz’ silver medal performance will be duplicated soon.
“Expect many of our athletes to make serious attempts to bring home international competition honors soon. They will surely draw inspiration from what Diaz has been reaping so far,” said Romero. (Ben Rosario)