President Rodrigo Duterte and Olympic weightlifting gold medalist Hidilyn Didal finally met by way of a Zoom conference call.
In the virtual hero's courtesy call aired live during Duterte’s Talk To The People address today, July 28, the President congratulated Hidilyn who donned her Philippine Airforce staff sergeant uniform and Olympic gold medal.
“Your achievement is the achievement of the nation. We are extremely proud, we cannot even express in words how we should really be shouting ‘hallelujah,’” Duterte began.
“I hope the years of toil, the years of disappointments… just forget them. You already have the gold. Gold is gold, and it would be good for you to just let bygones be bygones and dwell solely on your victory together with your family and, of course, the nation.”
He went on to cite what Diaz can expect from the government, such as a fully-furnished house and lot in Zamboanga for her service in the Armed Forces and the highest Presidential medal.
Duterte also promised a P3 million bonus apart from the P10 million incentive from the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.
He also mentioned a possible political career for Diaz in the future: “You are already a celebrity, it's a political stock so keep note of that. One day... baka makatulong ka sa country in some other way.”
They exchanged salutes before Diaz was also greeted by Cabinet secretaries Senator Bong Go, Arthur Tugade, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, and Carlito Galvez Jr.
The Olympian arrived in the country at around 6 p.m. today alongside Margielyn Didal and their respective Olympic teams.
Duterte and Diaz first met in 2016 at Davao City when the President congratulated her for nabbing silver during the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Banner photo from PTV / Thumbnail photo from PCOO.gov.ph