Palace showers medalists more cash incentives


THE oft-repeated “silver and/or bronze that glitter like gold” reverberated from Malacañang to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Monday when more cash incentives greeted Tokyo Olympics medalists Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Felix Marcial upon their arrival from Japan.

President Duterte, in a virtual welcome reception for the Olympic medalists, gave Petecio and Paalam an additional P2 million each for their silvers and Marcial an extra P1 million for his bronze.

President Duterte didn’t stop there as another P200,000 will be added to the bonuses for Filipino athletes who didn’t win a medal in the pandemic Olympics that came to a close on Sunday.

“I salute all of you,” Duterte told the boxers who wore military uniforms—Philippine Navy for Paalam, Coast Guard for Petecio and Air Force for Marcial.

“I would like to announce that in addition to what the law gives you—the P5 million for silver medalist and the P2 million for bronze medalist—you will also receive an extra cash bonus from the Office of the President,” Duterte said.

The windfall of incentives showered the medalists—particularly women’s -55 kgs of weightlifting champion Hidilyn Diaz—included those through the government’s Athletes and Coaches Incentives Act, San Miguel Corp., MVP Group’s Smart and PLDT, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and its president, Cavite Eighth District Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, 1-Pacman Party-list Rep. Mikee Romero, Phoenix, Ayala Corp./Kia and Suntrust/Megaworld Corp.

“Those who participated in all the events brought honor to the country,” Duterte said. “I do not care about winnin…long live to all of you.”

The boxers and their coaches—Nolito “Boy” Velasco, Ronald Chavez, Elmer Pamisa and Reynaldo Galido, as well as Tolentino and other members of the delegation, touched down at Naia on board a Philippine Airlines A321 Neo plane with flight number 427 at exactly 4:27 p.m. on Monday from Narita Airport.

“Good job guys,” PAL spokesman  Cielo Villaluna said. “We are happy and proud to carry all of you on board, it is an honor and privilege to bring home to Manila the  ‘country’s pride’ and the flag carrier’s latest Forever Flyers.”

PAL gave all three boxers lifetime privileges, announcing the incentives before they disembarked. Duterte also conferred the medalists Presidential Citations and Order of Lapu-Lapu for excelling in their field.

“It is not an everyday occurrence that we receive such an honor from our citizens of the Republic of the Philippines,” he said. “You went to Tokyo to fight and I’d say you did your best and the Filipino people appreciate it, especially bringing honor to the country.”

The boxers replied in unison: “Thank you, Mr. President.”

But President Duterte didn’t stop there and spiced the occasion with his trademark humor.

“You can marry now, you have the money now,” he said. “Go home to your provinces and share your Olympic glory to your friends and loved ones.”

Image courtesy of Nonie Reyes

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