By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

PHOTO: Manila Bulletin

Following the country's biggest medal haul in the history of its Olympic campaign, Malacañang asserted that it was “no coincidence” that the Philippines achieved its best performance in the Olympics during the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. 

“Hindi coincidence na we had the best-ever performance in the Olympics including our first gold medal ever in our history under the leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing on Monday. 

The Philippines wrapped up its Tokyo Olympics campaign by winning multiple medals in a single Olympics for the first time since the Los Angeles Games in 1932. The country notched four medals— weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the first-ever gold medal, boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam won silver medals, and boxer Eumir Marcial won a bronze medal. 

Roque maintained that the Duterte administration heavily invested in its athletes and that this is proven by its sterling Olympic stint, beating out Indonesia for the distinction as the top performing Southeast Asian country in the Tokyo Olympics. 

“The figures will bear me out pero talaga naman pong nagtanim at nag-invest ang ating Pangulo sa ating mga atleta. Sa kauna-unahang panahon po, record po ang suportang pinansyal na binigay natin sa ating mga atleta at nakita naman po natin ang naging prutas ng ganyang investment,” said Roque.

“Ang tingin ko po, patuloy ang ating investment in our athletes dahil nakita naman po natin na kapag nakapaguwi ng medalya ang ating mga atleta, hindi lang tagumpay ng atleta natin ito kundi tagumpay ng buong sambayanang Pilipino," he added. 

On the contrary, Malacañang earlier bared that government funding for the country’s athletes has not been enough after it has only shelled out at least P200 million for the preparation and competition of Team Philippines at the just-concluded Tokyo Olympics. 

To recall, even the country’s own Olympic medalists like Diaz and Marcial have previously asked for financial support prior to their 2020 Tokyo Olympics bid.

In 2019, Diaz, the country's first-ever Olympic gold in 97 years, bared the apparent lack of state support as she appealed for sponsorship from the private sector. 

In May 2021, Marcial lamented the lack of financial support, citing the P43,000-monthly allowance was not enough to cover his expenses in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.