PBA Party-list Rep. Margarita “Migs” Nograles is looking for ways to help current and past Filipino Olympians following the death of track and field legend Lydia De Vega on Wednesday, Aug. 10.
De Vega, who was once dubbed “the fastest woman in Asia”, succumbed to breast cancer on Wednesday night. She was 57.
Nograles expressed sadness over the passing of De Vega, whom she described as the “first female hero” of the Philippines.
“Bilang isang (As a) woman athlete (noon) at (before and) trackster, isa sa mga inspirasyon po talaga si (one of the inspirations was really) Ms. Lydia,” she said in a statement.
What’s more saddening according to the neophyte solon than losing the Filipina sprint queen was when De Vega and her family had to publicly ask for financial help.
“Ang nakakalungkot po talaga ay sa mga huling araw niya ay humingi siya ng (It is really sad that in her last days she asked for) financial help sa (from the) public dahil kulang po ng mga (because there are insufficient) programs to support and give retirement benefits sa ating (to our) past Olympians,” Nograles said.
“Kaya po, iyan ang isa sa mga pinag-aaralan natin ngayon para po matulungan ang ating (That’s why it’s one of those we are studying now in order to help our) Olympians (both current and retired),” she added.
In a separate statement, House Speaker Martin Romualdez stressed the need to support Filipino athletes even in retirement following the death of De Vega due to cancer.
“Her death highlights the need for our government and the private sector to support Filipino athletes not only while they are healthy and physically able to compete but in retirement as well,” he said.
Tributes for De Vega also poured in from other lawmakers in the House of Representatives as they mourned De Vega‘s passing. Here are their statements:
“Today, we lost an all time great… a national treasure, the Queen of Track Lydia de Vega. She brought honor and glory to our country,” said Valenzuela City 2nd district Rep. Eric Martinez.
“Her achievements as an athlete, brought honor and pride to our country, with her dedication and commitment touching the hearts of every Filipino,” ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Jocelyn Tulfo said.
“Her invaluable contributions to Philippine sports will undoubtedly live on in memory for future generations and will inspire other Filipino athletes, to strive for excellence,” she added.
“She was an icon and a legend in Philippine athletics and her passing is a tremendous loss to the country. Lydia may have gone but her legacy in the track as Asia’s sprint queen will forever live on,” Pinuno Party-list Rep. Howard Guintu said.