SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Deputy Speaker and Valenzuela City 2nd District Rep. Eric Martinez is pushing for a bill that will not only immortalize Filipino Olympians, but also assure that they will be taken care of in the future.
Martinez said House Bill (HB) 10096 or the proposed Philippine Olympian Memorial Act would cover “over 400 Olympians of the not so distant past.”
“Marami kasi sa kanila nag-participate, they were able to reach the Olympics pero due recognition was not given,” Martinez said. “Who could forget Lydia de Vega, Caloy Loyzaga, Mona Sulaiman?”
One of the facets of the measure, according to Martinez, is the establishment of an Olympian Museum, which can generate an income to be utilized by the Association of Philippine Olympians for the hospitalization and medical needs of its members.
Martinez cited the case of the late Olympic bronze medalist Leopoldo Serantes who, he said, “died a quiet man” in the hospital following his battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.
“Condolences was offered, syempre nasa Facebook, the sad fate of the boxer. But after a year, everything will be forgotten for Leopoldo Serantes,” Martinez pointed out.
HB 10096 also proposes to rename sports facilities and streets in honor of Filipino Olympians.
“Marami namang kalsada na naipangalan sa Ylang-Ylang, Sampaguita…you go around, you drive, ang daming kalsada all over the country,” Martinez said. “Pero napangalanan ba at least itong 300-400 Olympians natin who have a fought a different war for us under the sports arena?”
Martinez also underscored that Olympians who failed to clinch medals will be covered by the bill.
He is likewise determined to take care of the Filipino sports heroes to encourage the youth to engage in sports and become Olympians.
“Let’s do something for our future Olympians. Marami pang parating na Olympians. With the victory natin sa Tokyo Olympics, you know those 40-million young na naghihintay lang mawala ang COVID, they are ready to explode and train to be part of the Olympic movement, Martinez said.
Meanwhile, Martinez said that the passage of the proposed “Hidilyn Diaz Act” will bode well in awakening the interest of Filipino in sports and the Olympics.
“Interest will be at an astronomical high para sa ating kabataan ‘pag nakita nila ganito pala, there’s a chance, we could dream and aim high dahil may mga incentives na ganito.”
Martinez also gave credit to the Philippine Sports Commission for the commendable performance of Filipino athletes in the recently concluded Tokyo Summer Olympics.
“They have put in a lot of science dito sa preparation sa Olympics—nutritionist, psychologist—so they know the winning formula now,” Martinez said.
“It’s just a matter of putting on more effort and funds to this and ‘yong science napakahalaga talaga,” he added.