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Duterte gifts Diaz with PHP3M, house and lot as gold medal winner returns home

Hidilyn Diaz has returned home after her historic gold medal run. Avito Dalan/PNA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The champ is here!

Two nights after making history, female weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz returned to the country and was welcomed with more gifts from no less than the Philippine chief executive himself.

Diaz, who gave the Philippines' first ever Olympic gold medal by winning the women's 55-kilogram event in Tokyo on Monday night, flew back to Pasay on Wednesday night via Philippine Airlines Flight PR 427, and just as she arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, President Rodrigo Duterte met her virtually and gave her some more good news aside from what has already been pledged by various sectors.

"I'm going to give you one fully furnished house and lot in Zamboanga City," Duterte revealed his first gift to Diaz, who calls Zamboanga City her hometown.

Duterte also said that Diaz will be given the presidential medal of merit.

"It will be given to you in an appropriate ceremony," he further said.

The biggest gift Duterte will give Diaz, however, is a PHP3 million cash prize.

He said that the money will come from his own war chest and will be apart from the PHP10 million the government has mandated through Republic Act 10699 enacted during the term of his predecessor, former President Noynoy Aquino.

"Maybe one of these days, if you have time, communicate with us para maibigay ko sa’yo ‘yung aking PHP3 million," Duterte further said.

The president was actually invited to attend the Tokyo Olympics opener on July 23 but had to beg off due to his State of the Nation Address happening on the 26th.

Joining Diaz in the flight home is her team led by Head Coach Gao Kaiwen and fiance Julius Naranja and female skateboarder Margielyn Didal, who made the final of the inaugural Olympic street skateboarding event, and her own team.

Due to the COVID-19 protocols set for the Tokyo Olympics, Diaz and Didal had to quickly return home and will undergo isolation immediately due to the Philippines' own rules on international arrivals.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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