The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) conferred military awards to Olympic medallists and soldier-athletes Staff Sergeant Hidilyn Diaz and Sergeant Eumir Felix Marcial in a ceremony held Wednesday, August 25.
Diaz who is the first Filipino to win an Olympic gold medal received the Outstanding Achievement Medal with Second Bronze Anahaw Leaf for her triumphant performance in the women’s 55kg category for weightlifting at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
She also received a plaque of recognition, the Philippine Flag and a simple token from the military leadership.
“What SSgt. Diaz has done was to bring hope and inspiration to millions of our fellow Filipinos, who up until this day continue to battle against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lieutenant General Erickson Gloria, the AFP Vice Chief of Staff.
Lieutenant General Gloria who represented AFP Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Jose Faustino Jr presided over the recognition ceremony at the General Headquarters canopy area.
Sergeant Marcial who won the bronze medal received the Chief of Staff, AFP Commendation Medal and Ribbon for his outstanding performance in the men’s boxing middleweight division in the recently held Olympics.
The AFP also acknowledged other Olympians who have also brought great honor for the country; Nesty Petecio and Carlo Paalam who both delivered silver medal to the Philippine boxing team.
“We hope that through this simple yet meaningful ceremony, we would be able to inspire our soldiers and civilian human resource, not only to be more active in sports, but also in the performance of their respective duties in protecting and securing the peace and stability of our country,” Lt. Gen. Gloria said.
The AFP has a program of direct enlistment that enables athletes to join its ranks. This provides them access to training facilities as well as includes them in the AFP payroll for their regular salaries.
As of July 2021, there are a total of 128 military athletes and coaches who compete in various sport events. Of which, 23 are from the Philippine Army, 64 from the Philippine Air Force and 41 from the Philippine Navy. ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES