AFP promotion for ‘Captain Barbell’ Hidilyn Diaz pushed in House
MANILA, Philippines — Congratulatory messages from members of the House of Representatives poured in for weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz on Tuesday following her historic gold medal win in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with some lawmakers even pushing for her promotion in the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
BHW Partylist Rep. Angelica Natasha Co, who is a member of the House committee on national defense and security, floated the idea of Diaz’s promotion and said that she will recommend it to the PAF.
Aside from being a weightlifter, Diaz is also an active sergeant in the PAF.
“I believe PAF Sgt. Hidilyn F. Diaz deserves a spot promotion for her historic Olympic Gold Medal triumph and new Olympic Record,” Co said in a statement.
“I dare say, she should henceforth be known as the new ‘Captain Barbell’ of the Philippines, a true living Filipino hero worth of emulation and adulation by generations of Filipinos today and yet to come,” she added.
Co’s proposal was backed by Iloilo 5th District Rep. Raul Tupas, the chair of the House committee on national defense and security, who said that he will join the call to have Diaz promoted.
“Bilang chairman ng committee on national defense and security, inirerekomenda ko kay Lieutenant General Allen T. Paredes, na siyang Commanding General ng Philippine Air Force, at kay Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Cirilito Sobejana na iproseso agad ang spot promotion batay sa tagubilin ng AFP promotion system,” Tupas said.
(As the chairman of the committee on national defense and security, I recommend to Lt. Gen. Allen T. Paredes, the commanding general of the PAF, and to Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana to process the spot promotion in accordance with the AFP promotion system.)
Tupas said that as a former official of the Philippine Army, he himself sees the morale boost that Diaz’s win will provide to other soldiers.
“Hindi lamang barbel ang binuhat ni Hidilyn, kundi ang dangal ng buong kapuluan ng Pilipinas na pilit idinadapa ng samu’t saring suliranin, kabilang na diyan ang COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
(Hidilyn did not only carry barbells, but also the pride of the whole country which is being challenged by a number of problems such as the COVID-19 pandemic.)
Several lawmakers have also filed resolutions congratulating and commending Diaz for her victory.
Deputy Speaker Marlyn Alonte filed a resolution conferring a congressional medal of distinction for Diaz over her achievement.
“Ms. Diaz’s historic triumph comes at a time when Filipinos worldwide needed a morale boost and resurgence of Pinoy Pride as the nation wages war against the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty, and unemployment,” she said.
Meanwhile, House Resolution No. 1984 was filed by Rep. Mannix Dalipe, of the 2nd District of Zamboanga City where Diaz hails. In filing the resolution, he said that the athlete “deserves to be commended for the honor and recognition she has brought to the country.”
Cavite 8th District Rep. Abraham Tolentino, who is also the chair of the Philippine Olympic Committee, also filed a separate resolution where he called Diaz a “treasure of the Philippines.”
“She has brought tremendous pride and joy to the country. Her victory in the Tokyo Olympics showed that Filipinos can excel at the highest level on the world stage,” he said.
The Makabayan bloc—composed of Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago; Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat; ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro; and Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas—likewise congratulated Diaz and underscored the need to support athletes.
“The same struggle mounting and clinching proper and adequate support for athletic endeavors have been experienced by our athletes due to the lack of funding and support systems,” the bloc said.
“This persistent problem of our athletes should be addressed by instituting sufficient funding based on actual needs of our athletes, not just some paltry amount appropriated by the government,” it added.
Mindanao lawmakers, Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman and Anak Mindanao Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan, said that Diaz’s victory “is a shining inspiration to every Filipino that perseverance and hard work indeed pay off.”
“Congratulations to our fellow Mindanaoan Hidilyn Diaz! Isa kang inspirasyon sa kapwa mo Pilipino, lalo na sa mga taga-Mindanao, na nangangarap makarating kung nasaan ka ngayon. Hindi lang ginto ang ibinigay mo sa Pilipinas, kundi inspirasyon sa aming lahat!” Hataman said.
“She persevered and did not let poverty stop her from pursuing her dreams. Many would have given up, but she continued on, focusing on what was important. Now, she is on top of the world,” Sangcopan said.
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