Hidilyn Diaz set to come home but pandemic pushes back ‘hero’s welcome’

FILIPINA Olympic gold medalist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz is expected to come home this Wednesday but a “hero’s welcome” may have to wait due to health protocols amid the pandemic.Sen. Francis Tolentino revealed this on Tuesday during the discussion of 12 resolutions lauding Diaz for winning the Philippines’ first ever Olympic gold medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.”I was just informed that Hidilyn will be flying home tomorrow. Because the protocol in Japan is [that] after your victory you have to go home,” Tolentino said.”If you lose an event you have to go home within two days. And the second day will be tomorrow,” the senator said.Tolentino added, “So, it is unknown to the media. Probably as I am not mistaken she is packing her bags now. And will be home tomorrow.”Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd asked him, “So, will she undergo the quarantine of the IATF (Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases)?””I believe so. The IATF rules will prevail,” Tolentino said. Sotto continued, “Even if she is fully vaccinated?”Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri butted in, “Seven days po basta (if) fully vaccinated in the Philippines.”The Senate later approved Resolutions 794, 795, 796, 797, 798, 799, 800, 801, 802, 803, 804, and 805 congratulating and commending Diaz for the great honor she has brought to the Philippines and to the Filipino people.Sotto said Diaz is a remarkable woman who is an inspiration and motivation to the Filipino youth, especially those in the far-flung areas where opportunities are elusive and hindered by poverty.”She is the epitome that everything is achievable if you focus and work hard to reach your dreams no matter how hard or impossible it might seem,” he said.Sotto said Diaz’s win is being celebrated not only because it was historic as the first-ever gold Olympic medal in almost a century “but it [is] also because of the fact that it happened in the middle of the pandemic when every move was a struggle and health risk and when the country needed a ray of light”.Sotto said the Senate will continue to push for a higher budget for Filipino athletes, most specially during the pandemic because training the body to be fit is just as important as sharpening the mind.Diaz deserves to be commissioned as an officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for bringing honor and inspiration to her country, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said. The senator on Tuesday proposed to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) leadership that Diaz, a sergeant, be given such a commission, subject to existing laws and AFP regulations.On Monday, Diaz won the gold medal in the women’s 55-kilogram (kg) weightlifting competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She lifted a record-setting combined weight of 224kg. “As chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, I would strongly recommend to the AFP leadership that she be given a rank as a commissioned officer of the PAF. It’s the least the service can give her,” Lacson said in a television interview.”Such a commission – either as a reserve or regular officer – is not just in recognition of her extraordinary feat, but also in recognition of her great potential to provide a good example to her fellow soldiers both as an athlete and as a leader,” he added.Diaz has earned several medals in different international sporting events like silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, gold medal in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Richard “Dick” Gordon, Maria Josefa Imelda “Imee” Marcos, Pilar Juliana “Pia” Cayetano, and Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros filed separate resolutions lauding Diaz for winning the country’s first ever Olympic gold medal.Sotto said Diaz’s “international achievements are noteworthy of her prowess in the sport of weightlifting which is known to many as a male dominated sport.” “Diaz has brought joy, honor and pride to the country and has lifted the hopes of an entire nation amid the uncertainties and challenges that we face today,” Drilon said.”The first Filipino Olympic champion is a woman,” said Hontiveros, chairman of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality.”During one of the most difficult moments in world history, a Filipina did that against all odds — amid the pandemic, despite limited resources, and in spite of unnecessary political controversy. 97 years was worth the wait,” she said.Marcos said Diaz’s “exceptional performance in the Olympics exhibited the grit and determination of the Filipino spirit in succeeding despite the odds.”Gordon said Diaz “is a great pride to her people, her country, her family, and herself, showing the Filipina never-say-die attitude, and proving everything is possible over any shortcomings, against all odds and even with humble beginnings.”Sen. Mary Grace Poe said, “For the first time in a long time, we shed tears of joy. Thank you, Hidilyn, for making your country proud and lifting the Filipino spirits to new heights.”Lacson noted Diaz is very deserving, after she gave the Philippines its first Olympic gold medal in weightlifting Monday evening. “This is an even more extraordinary accomplishment, a first in our history.” Also, Lacson said Diaz’s feat gave 110 million Filipinos a major reason to celebrate amid the humongous problems they now face. “She makes us Filipinos very, very proud.”He also said Diaz’s saluting the Philippine flag and singing the National Anthem, “was the most touching moment that will be relieved in our memories for a long, long time.”#TokyoOlympics
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