1996 Olympics silver medalist Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco has not yet received his P2.5 million cash reward he was supposed to receive 20 years ago. This is despite the fact that 2016 Rio Olympics Hidilyn Diaz has already received P 5-million in cold cash from President Rodrigo Duterte, who is set to give her an additional P2-million bonus.
This Thursday night (August 11), Hidilyn Diaz from Zamboanga City paid a courtesy visit with President Duterte in Davao City where the president handed her the P5-million check cash reward. This is under RA 10699 (or National athletes, coaches and trainers Benefits Act), which was signed into law in 2015 by then-President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.
“It is with great pride that I present Hidilyn Diaz, a Zamboangueña. If we put just put in the discipline and a little help from the national government, we’d get miracles and surprises along the way. She got a 5 million price for winning and I just added another two million.” President Duterte said, along with Diaz who started weightlifting when she was only 11.
Must Watch: * 7 Inspiring Facts About 2016 Rio Olympics Silver Medalist Hidilyn Diaz (Video)
On her short speech, Diaz thanked the president and all her supporters, adding that it is always possible for a Filipino to win medals in the Olympic Games. The 25-year old athlete made some history records such as being the first Pinay weightlifter in the Olympics, the first Olympian from Mindanao, and the first Pinay athlete to win an Olympic medal.
On the other hand, former boxer Onyok Velasco recently said he is still hoping to receive his P2.5 million cash incentive as promised to him during the administration of President Fidel V. Ramos. This is after he won silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games via a controversial match vs Daniel Petrov from Bulgaria, and went home with a hero’s welcome.
That time, Congress has already approved the bill. However, Ernesto Maceda then replaced Neptali Gonzales as Senate President, and for some reasons, the boxer’s papers were allegedly lost. He said he initially received P750,000 from the government, and another P1.2 million during the Arroyo administration, as stated at Republic Act No. 9064.
Velasco, who has appeared in numerous comedy movies during the 90s, admitted that he had talked with Senator Manny Pacquiao about his concerns. Being the chairman of the Senate sports committee, the Pinoy boxixng icon said he will conduct a Senate inquiry on the failure of the government in giving cash incentives to deserving athletes.
Meanwhile, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Butch Ramirez was also present during the President Duterte- Hidilyn Diaz meeting. And although the case of Onyok Velesco was not mentioned during the press conference, one of Ramirez’ aides somehow gave TN a hint on what can possibly happen sometime soon.
“The president knows about it, and they are now discussing the matter. If he can give P2 million bonus to Hidilyn (Diaz), there is no reason why Velasco cannot receive his P2.5 million reward. Note that FVR and President Duterte are very good friends” The aide said, who requested anonymity, saying that he he does not preempt the president’s decision.