By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Deputy House Speaker Rep. Mikee Romero of 1-PACMAN Partylist pledged additional cash incentives to Filipino athletes who will win medals at the Tokyo Olympics firing off on Friday.
The avid sportsman and NorthPort team owner announced Tuesday he will commit to give P3 million for gold medalists, P2 million for silver and P1 million bronze as an added boost for Filipino athletes seeking to win that first Olympic gold medal for the country.
“It’s not really about the money, but an added motivation for our athletes who have been working hard to compete in the Olympics,” said Romero during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Online Forum.
With Romero’s pledge, a Filipino athlete who will win the gold now stands to receive P33 million that include P10 million each from the Philippine Sports Commission, the Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation and San Miguel Corp. big boss Ramon S. Ang.
Silver and bronze medals are also now worth P17 million and P7 million, respectively.
Romero, accompanied by his trusted lieutenant Erick Arejola, said the bonus will come from his own pocket, as he believes the 19-man PH team has the strongest chance to win that elusive Olympic gold.
“I consider this lineup as the strongest lineup ever. All are bemedalled and champions worldwide, hindi lang sa Asian and Southeast Asian Games. Looking at the track records of our athletes, parang pinagsama-sama mo na lahat ng magagaling,” he said.
He noted weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz owing to her wide experience and accomplishment as a silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics; golfer Yuka Saso, a two-time 2018 Asian Games gold medalist and the first Filipino to win the US Women’s Open last month; and skateboarder Margielyn Didal, who won the gold in the 2018 Asian Games.
“Triple threat itong mga to eh. Women power,” said Romero, adding that this would be the first time that the country will field more female athletes than male.
At the Tokyo Games, the country has 10 female qualifiers and nine male.
Romero also cited gymnast Carlos Yulo as among those who can deliver the gold medal owing to the 19-year-old’s world championship feat in 2019.