The House of Representatives, led by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, welcomed Tokyo Olympic medalists Hidilyn Diaz, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, and Eumir Marcial when they came to the Batasang Pambansa complex on Tuesday to receive congressional honor.
Diaz, the first Filipino to ever win Olympic gold, was conferred the inaugural Congressional Medal of Excellence. This is given exclusively to Filipino athletes who have won a gold medal in the Olympics.
Olympic silver medalists Petecio and Paalam and bronze medalist Marcial were awarded the Congressional Medal of Distinction. This is given to Filipino achievers in sports, business, medicine, science, and other fields.
The Congressional Medal of Distinction was the same award received by Diaz five years ago when she won a silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Speaker Velasco handed out to the four Olympic medalists the congressional medals and framed copies of the House-adopted resolutions congratulating and giving them congressional honor.
In his speech at the House plenary, Speaker Velasco commended the Olympic medalists for having “shown the world what Filipinos can achieve, despite facing the most difficult of circumstances.”
According to the Speaker, the “determination and fighting spirit” of these exceptional Filipino Olympians “have inspired countless Filipinos during these trying times.”
“You gave us hope. You gave us something to dream about. And in those shining moments of triumph, you have all made our kababayans young and old, residing here or abroad, extremely proud to be called Filipinos.”
Also at the plenary, Speaker Velasco announced the adoption of House Resolution 198 congratulating and thanking the women and men of the Philippine delegation for their highly successful and historic performance in the 2020 Tokyo Games.
A framed copy of the resolution was received by Philippine Olympic Committee president and Deputy Speaker Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and Philippine Sports Commission chair William Ramirez, on behalf of the Philippine Olympic delegation.
Earlier in the day, Speaker Velasco warmly received Diaz and company during a courtesy call in his office.
The Speaker also hosted a luncheon in honor of the four Olympic medalists, during which he awarded certificates of recognition to their coaches and to 1996 Atlanta Olympic boxing silver medalist Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco Jr.
The House chief likewise turned over to the Olympic medalists and their coaches the cash incentives collected from House members under the “pass the hat” drive initiated by the Speaker.
During the luncheon, the guests were treated to a music video of “Aabutin ang Bituin,” a newly composed song inspired by Diaz’s life story.
The Philippines emerged as the best performing Southeast Asian country in the Tokyo Olympics and surpassed its three bronze-record set during the Los Angeles Games in 1932.
This historic breakthrough was achieved by the Philippine Olympic delegation composed of 19 athletes, with their respective coaches and trainers, who competed in 11 different sporting events.