Press Release
August 10, 2021

Bong Go welcomes Olympians and praises them for inspiring Filipinos by giving hope and pride amid the struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go personally welcomed the return of four Filipino athletes who participated at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Go, who likewise joined President Rodrigo Duterte in a subsequent video courtesy call, extended his sincerest congratulations to the Olympians and their teams for their inspiring performances and achievements which brought honor and distinction to the country.

"As Chair of the Senate Committee on Sports, I assure you of my unrelenting and wholehearted support for our athletes and the entire sports community," Go said in a message.

"Makakaasa kayo na patuloy kong isusulong ang mga batas at panukala na magpapaunlad sa larangan ng sports nang sa gayon ay makabuo tayo ng mga susunod na henerasyon ng mga atleta na magbibigay ng karangalan sa ating bansa,'' he promised.

Go personally presented members of the boxing team, namely Carlo Paalam, Nesthy Petecio, Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno, new watches as tokens of his gratitude and appreciation.

Paalam and Petecio both won silver medals at the men's flyweight and women's featherweight divisions, respectively. Marcial claimed a bronze medal at the men's middleweight division while flyweight Magno, who bowed out at the second stage, is the first Filipina boxer in history to qualify for the Olympics.

The Philippines, which finished 50th in the tally, is the top performing Southeast Asian nation at the 2020 Olympics with a total of four medals -- one gold, two silvers and one bronze. This is the country's biggest medal haul since it joined the Olympics in 1924.

In recognition of the athletes' historic performance, President Duterte announced additional cash incentives from the Office of the President during the virtual courtesy call held that evening. Paalam and Petecio shall each be awarded PHP2 million while Marcial will receive PHP1 million. Other Olympians, including Magno, will also be given PHP200,000. This is on top of what is provided for under the law.

Under Republic Act No. 10699, Olympic medalists would be awarded PhP10 million if they win a gold medal; PhP5 million for a silver medal; and PhP2 million for a bronze medal. On the other hand, Paralympic medalists would get PhP5 million for a gold medal; PhP2.5 million for a silver medal; and PhP1 million for a bronze medal.

Earlier, President Duterte also pledged an additional PhP3 million plus house and lot for Hidilyn Diaz who won gold in the Olympics.

Additionally, all Olympic participants will be awarded the Order of Lapu-Lapu, a national order of merit conferred by the President to individuals who rendered "invaluable or extraordinary service" to the nation.

"It is not an every day occurrence that we receive such an honor from our citizens ... You went to Tokyo to fight and you did your best. The Filipino people appreciate it ... You all won in that (regard)," said President Duterte.

"Those who participated in the events brought honor to the country irrespective (of whether you won or not). I do not care about winning and that is why all of you will receive an additional P200,000 ... Kung tingin niyo medyo kulang pa, sabihin niyo lang at dagdagan pa natin," Duterte continued.

The athletes were also greeted by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Philippines Olympic Committee (POC) President and Deputy Speaker Abraham Tolentino, Philippine Sports Commission Commissioner Celia Kiram, POC First Vice President Alfredo Panlilio, Association of Boxing Alliance in the Philippines President Victorico Vargas, ABAP Secretary General Edgar Picson, National Golf Association of the Philippines Sec. Gen. Valeriano Floro II, and Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force Lieutenant General Allen Trio Paredes.

Earlier, following the request of the Philippine Sports Commission coursed through Senator Go, the Office of the President approved the additional allowance of PhP100,000 pesos to athletes competing in the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Initial allowances and provisions have already been given to the athletes and coaches including US$1,000 per person, delegation supply of competition equipment and uniforms, plane tickets, billeting, and delegation uniforms through the efforts of the PSC.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go ensured last year that adequate funding is included in the PSC's budget this year to support athletes' preparations. Specifically, he successfully pushed for an additional PhP100 million pesos to be included in the 2021 budget which was later on increased further to Php250 million pesos under the PSC for Olympic preparations. As for the Paralympics, Go earlier supported the allocation of an additional PhP7.945 million budget for their preparations.

Go also successfully appealed to the government to include in the priority list for COVID-19 vaccination the Filipino athletes and other delegates who will be competing or participating in the upcoming Olympics.

During the imposition of enhanced community quarantine measures in most parts of the country last year, Go urged concerned agencies to help athletes whose training and livelihood had been hampered by the pandemic. The Department of Social Welfare and Development, in coordination with the Games and Amusement Board and the PSC, provided financial assistance and other forms of aid to athletes in various parts of the country upon the recommendation of Senator Go.

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