By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
A bill has been filed in the House of Representatives that seek to memorialize Filipino Olympians.
Deputy Speaker Eric Martinez led a group of congressmen in filing House Bill No. 10096, which proposes to establish a “Philippine Olympian Memorial that will provide a permanent and fitting commemoration for the blood, sweat and tears our national athletes have shed to represent the Philippines in the Olympics.”
“This bill will inspire and educate our children about these athletes. Kasi mahalaga na hindi natin makalimutan ang mga atletang ito,” Martinez said when he guested the Philippine Sportswriters Association Online Forum Tuesday.
The facet of the bill is to name and rename public infrastructures and facilities in honor of Filipino Olympians.
This includes proposals to rename the New Clark City Aquatics Center as the “Teofilo E. Yldefonso Aquatics Center”, the New Clark City Athletics Stadium as the “Simeon G. Toribio Athletics Stadium”, and the Philippine Institute of Sports Football and Athletics Stadium (formerly ULTRA stadium) as the “Miguel S. White Athletics Stadium”.
Yldefenso is a two-time Olympic bronze medalist in the men’s 200-meter breastroke, winning it in the 1928 Amsterdam and 1932 Los Angeles editions. Toribio also won bronze in men’s high jump at the 1932 Los Angeles, while White clinched bronze in the men’s 400m hurdles at the 1936 Berlin Games.
Though not yet included in the proposal, Martinez said they would amend in renaming the Rizal Memorial Coliseum for Caloy Loyzaga, a two-time Olympian and member of the national team considered as the greatest Filipino basketball player of all time.
“Nung nakaraan, nag-issue ang Philippine Sports Commission na yung Ninoy Aquino Stadium ang ine-name nila kay Caloy. So ang naisip ko, that’s not Caloy’s domain. Caloy’s basketball lore emanated from the old Rizal Memorial Stadium, so yun ang isa sa ating ilalagay,” Martinez said.
The bill also seeks to mandate the Department of Education to integrate with the basic education curriculum on the lives of Filipino Olympians.
It also seeks to have an Olympian museum at the New Clark City, which was the main hub of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games that the country hosted.
Other proposals include memorabilia like coins, postage stamps, decals and customized car plates.