Palace touts PH’s best Olympics during Duterte's watch

Published August 9, 2021, 3:13 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque credited President Duterte for the Philippines’ biggest medal haul in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that saw Filipino athletes coming home with its first-ever gold medal, two silver medals, and one bronze medal.

Team Philippines at the Tokyo Olympics (Philippine Olympic Committee)

The Palace official said that the President has invested in Filipino athletes.

“Hindi coincidence na (that) we had the best ever performance in the Olympics, including our first gold medal, ever in our history under the leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” Roque claimed during his virtual presser on Monday, August 9.

“Kauna-unahang panahon po record po ang suportang pinansyal ang binigay natin sa ating mga atleta at nakita naman po natin ang naging prutas na ganyang investment (For the very first time, we provided a record financial support to our athletes and we can see the fruits of this investment),” he added.

READ: Palace praises Paalam, other Filipino athletes for ‘best Olympic performance’

It looks like the government will continue to support Filipino athletes as they prepare for the 2024 Paris Olympics and more international games since Roque said the investment pays off.

The victory is not only for the athletes but for all Filipinos during these trying times, the spokesperson noted. He believes that Filipinos should be inspired by them.

“We needed those medals at this time in our history po sa gitna ng pandemya (in the middle of the pandemic). They provided us hope na kahit gaano kahirap ang buhay natin ngayon eh magwawagi din po tayo (even though our lives are difficult now, we will still win),” he said.

The Philippines had its most successful run at the Olympics this year with Hidilyn Diaz taking home the country’s first-ever gold medal for women’s weightlifting, Nesthy Petecio with a silver medal for women’s featherweight, Carlo Paalam with another silver for men’s boxing flyweight, and Eumir Marcial with a bronze from men’s boxing middleweight.

With four medals, the country became the most successful Southeast Asian country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

READ: Team PH is the best performing ASEAN country in the Tokyo Olympics

All four athletes were given cash incentives from the government as mandated by the law, as well as free flights from Air Asia and Philippine Airlines and other rewards courtesy of private sponsors.

Later today, August 9, Petecio, Paalam, and Marcial will arrive back home to a heroes’ welcome. Diaz went home four days after winning the gold medal on July 26.

The Palace official’s claims contradict earlier issues raised by Filipino athletes against the government’s lack of financial support.

Diaz herself was a victim of red-tagging after she was included in a matrix of personalities who were supposedly working to oust the President. Her name was included in the matrix after she complained about not receiving enough financial support, and asking instead from the private sector and the general public.

Marcial also said that the monthly allowance he received was not enough to cover the expenses of his Olympics campaign. He was only able to train in the United States because of private sponsors and his own money, he added.

Philippine Sports Commission chief of staff Marc Velasco said that since 2019, the government allocated P100 million for the campaign to get Filipino athletes into the Olympics. He admitted that the amount was not enough compared to how much other countries spend on their athletes.