By REY C. LACHICA
Olympic gold medal winner Hidilyn Diaz is getting richer each day.
Since her historic win in the Tokyo Games on Monday when she became the first Filipino athlete to win an Olympic gold medal, weightlifting superstar’s cash prizes has ballooned to almost P50 million.
That’s because she is entitled for another P5 million from the Philippine Sports Commission – the government sports agency – for setting an Olympic record.
That came a day after President Duterte pledged another P3 million for finally quenching the thirst of the nation for that elusive gold medal during their virtual meeting on Wednesday.
Diaz lifted her winning 127 kg in the clean and jerk which got her total to 224 kg – an Olympic mark in the women’s 55-kg class in weightlifting.
Under Republic Act 10699 or the Expanded Incentives Act, national athletes and other athletes who make a Philippine record or ranking in any measurable international sports competition shall be given cash incentives, the amount of which may be determined by the PSC.
This was confirmed by Commissioner Celia Kiram, claiming the additional incentive has already been approved, signed and ready for release.
Diaz will receive P20.5 million from the Philippine government alone – P15 million through the PSC by virtue of the incentives law, P3 million from President Duterte, and P2.5 million from Zamboanga city government.
Diaz also stands to receive an additional P23 million from three business tycoons – P10 million each from San Miguel Corporation’s Ramon S. Ang and Smart and PLDT big boss Manny V. Pangilinan, and P3 million from Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero.
Phoenix Petroleum also promised P5 million apart from fuel for life reward.
Her cash prizes is expected to breach the P50-M mark as Romero is also calling on fellow House representatives to give something for the country’s heroine.
Duterte also promised Diaz a house and lot in Zamboanga, raising her houses to three counting the P14 million condominium unit in Eastwood City as pledged by property empire tycoon Dr. Andrew L. Tan and another house and lot in Tagaytay by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President and Tagaytay Rep. Bambol Tolentino.
AirAsia, where Romero is also the majority owner, is also awarding Diaz lifetime free flights – while the Philippine Airlines is giving her 80,000 free miles per year for life.