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The Government Is Now Looking Into Offering More Support for Filipino Athletes

After Hidilyn Diaz won a gold.
IMAGE JEROME ASCAÑO
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Malacanang will look into increasing financial assistance for athletes, Presidential Spokesperon Harry Roque said Tuesday after weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz clinched the Philippines its first ever Olympic gold in 97 years.

"I don't think walang makakasabi na walang commitment ang administrasyon ni Presidente Duterte sa ating mga atleta," Roque said in a briefing.

"Unang-una, andyan ang New Clark City. Meron tayong world-class facilities na pwedeng gamitin ng ating mga atleta sa kanilang training," he said.

The sporting facility in Capas, Tarlac finished construction in September 2019 in time for the 30th Southeast Asian Games three months later. It consists of the Athletic Stadium, Aquatic Center, and Athletes' Village. It is currently being used as a quarantine facility for COVID-19 patients.

"Bagamat, titignan natin. Alam ko pong nakakakuha ng konting assistance sa gobyerno ang ating mga atleta dahil full-time ang kanilang training. Titignan natin kung pwede natin maitaas yang mga nakukuha nilang mga allowances at benepisyo for being part of the national team," he said.

Roque, who participates in martial arts sport pencak silat, acknowledged the lack of support for athletes.

"Alam ko po talaga, kulang. Parang minimum wage lang ang nabibigay na allowance sa atleta natin," he said.

"Sa tingin ko itong victory na ito is also a gamechanger for sports, ito yung dahilan para pag-isipan ng ating policymakers na kailangan talaga mag-laan ng mas malaking suporta sa ating mga atleta," Roque said, adding that an athlete's win is a win for the entire nation.

In early 2019, Diaz was included in a supposed oust President Duterte matrix after calls for support for the country's athletes. Diaz mentioned the matrix after her gold win. Roque denied the link and said such matrix never landed on his table.

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Roque said the president and private companies promised the Olympic gold medalist millions, but that he would keep the figure private as he hopes this number would increase, saying she "deserves it."

This story originally appeared on Reportr.world. Minor edits have been made by Esquiremag.ph editors.

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