Olympic medalists Hidilyn Diaz and Eumir Marcial, who both serve as soldier-athletes under the Philippine Air Force Civil-Military Operations Group, received military honors from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday, Aug. 25.
In a ceremony, Staff Sergeant Diaz was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Medal with Second Bronze Anahaw Leaf for bringing the country’s first-ever gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Diaz also received a plaque of recognition, the Philippine flag, and a simple token from the AFP.
Meanwhile, Marcial received the Chief of Staff, AFP Commendation Medal and Ribbon for his bronze-medal victory in the men’s boxing middleweight division.
The military also recognized Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, who both clinched Olympic silver medals in boxing.
“We hope that through this simple yet meaningful ceremony, we would be able to inspire our soldiers and civilian human resource, not only to be more active in sports but also in the performance of their respective duties in protecting and securing the peace and stability of our country,” said AFP vice chief of staff Lt. Gen. Erickson Gloria.
The AFP offers a special military enlistment program for Filipino athletes to enlist themselves as regular personnel. The program also provides them access to training facilities and regular salaries as AFP personnel.
According to the AFP, there are 128 military athletes and coaches who compete in various sports events, as of July 2021. These include 23 athletes from the Philippine Army, 64 from the Philippine Air Force, and 41 from the Philippine Navy.
Banner and thumbnail photo from Armed Forces of the Philippines/Facebook