Pacquiao plans own reward for Diaz
ELATED by the Olympic victory of a Filipino athlete, billionaire boxing champ Sen. Manny Pacquiao is considering giving additional incentives to Hidilyn Diaz out of his own pocket as he vowed to ensure that the silver medalist gets her due under the law.
Pacquiao, chair of the Senate committee on sports, did not reveal the amount on his mind, saying: “Let’s not announce it. It’s not government money. No need to announce that.”
Diaz, the Zamboanga City weightlifter who bagged the silver medal in the women’s 53 kg weightlifting at the Rio de Janeiro Games on Sunday, is set to receive a P5-million tax-free incentive under the national Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Law.
Diaz, who bagged the country’s first Olympic medal in 20 years, is the first athlete set to receive the amount under the law passed in 2012. The previous silver-medal incentive was fixed at P2.5 million, an amount promised boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco after his 1996 Atlanta Games feat.
He has said in recent interviews that he has yet to receive the amount.
Pacquiao vowed to focus his efforts on ensuring that incentives and other benefits are given Filipino athletes, saying he was well aware of problems besetting Philippine sports.
On Diaz’s case, he said he would “do everything I can can to help speed up the process of giving her what is due.” He will also look into the unpaid incentives of fellow boxer Velasco.
“We will really focus on the incentives that have not been given to our athletes and on reforming the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission),” said the champion boxer and playing coach at the Philippine Basketball Association. “We will fix that because, of course, I have been sports for a long time. I know the ins and outs.”
He said he is set to meet with officials of the PSC and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) next week to look at how his committee could help address problems in the sports sector.