Deputy Speaker and Las Piñas City Rep. Camille Villar wants Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz bestowed the Philippine Legion of Honor, thus, joining the ranks of Filipino sporting heroes Senator Manny Pacquiao, an international boxing icon and multi-awarded billiards wizard Efren Reyes.
In a press statement issued Wednesday, July 28, Villar urged President Rodrigo Duterte to confer the Philippine Legion of Honor to Diaz for giving the Philippines its first gold medal in an Olympic competition.
The lady solon also filed House Resolution No. 2020 to congratulate and commend Diaz “for her unprecedented victory which brought hope in this time of pandemic.”
“It is high time to confer to the four-time Olympian the Philippine Legion of Honor (Lehiyong Pandangal ng Pilipinas) for her heart-warming victory and for uplifting national glory and pride in the world sports stage,” Villar wrote in the resolution.
The Philippine Legion of Honor, considered the highest award the President can bestow without the need for approval by Congress, is conferred upon civilians or members of the military, Filipino or foreign, in recognition of valuable and meritorious service in relation to military affairs of the Philippines.
Diaz, 30, is a sergeant at the Philippine Air Force. A proposal to promote her as a commissioned military officer has been aired in the Senate.
Villar cited the Zamboanga City lass for bringing to the country “the much-needed good news and provided the opportunity for Filipinos to be inspired by her hardwork and determination.”
“The athlete is also a symbol of hope and unity and brought national honor before the international arena,” Villar said.
“In her quest to deliver the country;s first-ever gold medal in the Summer Games, the bemedalled Zamboanga City native, a silver medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, had to endure hardships and even depression that made her think to bow out of the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, as well as lack of financial backing, restrictions and hurdles due to the pandemic, emboldened her resolve with the moral support of her kababayans to emerge victorious in Tokyo 2020,” added Villar.
If conferred a Philippine Legion of Honor Degree, Diaz will join fellow athletes Pacquiao and Reyes who both contributed immensely in putting the country in the map of the world’s sporting greats.
A PLD degree is also conferred to civilians. Among recipients of the highest degree of Chief Commander were former President Emilio Aguinaldo; Emperor Akihito of Japan, Republic of China Chiang Kai-shek, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, President Ferdinand E. Marcos and Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin.
The late Don Emilio Yap, former chairman of Manila Bulletin, and its late publisher, Napoleon Rama, were also honored recipients of the PLD award.