The House of Representatives’ ‘pass-the-hat’ initiative aimed at raising cash incentive for Philippines pride and Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz is expected to raise at least P5 to P10 million, Deputy Speaker and 1PACMAN Partylist Rep. Michael “Mikee” L. Romero disclosed on Wednesday, July 28.
Romero told a virtual news forum in the Lower House that the cash drive for Diaz was initiated by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco immediately after news about Diaz’s Olympics feat reached the legislative chamber.
“From the House, Speaker Velasco has initiated the move. He started with P200,000 and passing the hat to every congressman and congresswoman to contribute for additional incentive for Hidilyn,” Romero said.
“I think the incentive will go to as far as P5 million to P10 million. As we speak, the ‘pass the hat’ has started and we already have P4 million from various congressmen,” he added.
However, Deputy Speaker and AAMBIS-OWA Sharon Garin said that the original plan to give Diaz the full amount to be raised has been amended “due to popular demand”.
According to Garin it has been agreed by leaders of the chamber that the total prize money will be distributed to all Olympic medal winners, aside from Diaz.
Romero, a long-time sports patron, will also grant Diaz an additional cash incentive worth P3 million, noting that her win ended the country’s 97 years of aspiration for the elusive Olympic gold medal.
Romero even showed news reporters the P3 million check he would give Diaz once she comes back to the Philippines.
Romero also mentioned that he will push for the creation of the Department of Sports in an effort to address the challenges of training funds for Filipino athletes.
“With the Department of Sports, it will have the mandate to put as many infrastructure as possible. Our athletes need to train outside of the Philippines because we don’t have enough infrastructure and facilities,” he said.
Romero said he will speak with Speaker Velasco and his colleagues in the House to ask for support on the measure’s approval In the same media forum, Deputy Speaker and Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. said Diaz, whom he considers the country’s sports hero, should be accorded all the honors that is due her.
“If we will be needing a sports ambassador, she can represent our country in any sports event and to be able to raise the flag of Philippine sports,” Abante said.