The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Monday honored Airwoman 1st Class Hidilyn Diaz for winning the country’s first Olympic medal in 20 years.
Diaz received a plaque of recognition from AFP chief General Ricardo Visayas and the Outstanding Achievement Medal from Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana.
The AFP awarded Diaz for her distinguished service as a Filipino athlete when she won the silver medal in the 53kg division of the women’s weightlifting event in the Rio Olympics.
“Airwoman Second Class Diaz brought national pride which merited public recognition of the highest order of her accomplishment as the country’s lone athlete-delegate to the said international event to win a medal for the Philippines,” the award read.
Diaz was promoted to Airwoman 1st Class last August 18 during her homecoming ceremony with the Philippine Air Force at the Villamor Airbase.
Diaz became the first Filipina athlete to win an Olympic medal and the first who finished at the podium after Onyok Velasco won the silver for the boxing event in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
The 25 year-old Zamboanga native is assigned to the PAF Personnel Management Center but was detached from the service with the Philippine Sport Commission for her Olympic stint.
Prior to her Olympic silver, Diaz claimed the gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games and the bronze at the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships.
“By these achievements, Airwoman First Class Diaz brough distinct honor and pride not only for herself, the Philippine Air Force, the Armed Forces of the Philippines but also to the nation as a whole,” her award read.
Diaz received P5 million pesos in incentives from the government for her silver medal as stated in Republic Act 10699 or the the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.
She also received an additional P2 million from President Rodrigo Duterte during her courtesy call in Davao City.
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— Joseph Tristan Roxas/RSJ, GMA News