MANILA–Rio Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz praised the government for extending support to the Filipino athletes and coaches.
Interviewed by Philippines News Agency (PNA), Diaz, pride of Zamboanga, the first Filipina to win an Olympic medal, stressed that the future of Philippines lies in grassroot development.
Last Saturday (April 1), the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the government sports body, through its chair William “Butch” Ramirez, announced the increase of athletes and coaches allowances.
“Para sa akin masaya. Nararamdaman namin ang support nila,” said Diaz, emphasizing the support should be sustained.
“Kung ano ang pagkukulang noong time ko dapat i-address ngayon. It’s time for change,” said the amiable and humble Diaz, whose dedication and sacrifice has not only gained her respect but also proved that in pursuit of sports excellence is “believing and having confidence (in) one’s self.”
To budding athletes, Diaz emphasized, “Mahalin nila ang Pilipinas. Dapat alam nila kung bakit sila nandito, dahil mahal nila ang sports nila, madali na lang manalo.”
“Nakikita ko ang future ng Philippine sports, dapat ma-develop ang grassroots sports talaga,” added Diaz, who herself has devoted some of her time in the construction of a sports gym in her province –a venue for poor but budding athletes.
Diaz revealed that she has already acquired a lot costing her more than PHP2 million from her cash incentives in winning the Olympic medal.
Recently, for the span of two weeks, the PSC has conducted a sports caravan that has re-established communications with local government units which focused the strengthening of the decades-old Philippine Sports Development Council (PSDF).
Under the PSDF, local government units –starting from the barangay units up to the regional level –are mandated to develop its grassroots sports program.
The funding requirements of the sports program comes from the so-called National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) where it is sourced from Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), among others.