Solon files bill allowing sports heroes' burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Solon files bill allowing sports heroes' burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani
Relatives and friends paid their respects to former Asia’s Sprint Queen Lydia de Vega during her burial at the Pandayan Memorial Park in Meycauayan, Bulacan on Wednesday.
Jesse Bustos / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker from Surigao del Norte has filed a bill allowing the country's sports heroes to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Rep. Robert Ace Barbers filed on Thursday House Bill 3716, which seeks to allow the interment of sports heroes in the distinguished cemetery "in recognition of their enormous work, dedication and sacrifices they have endured to bring pride and honor to our country".

"Sports stars become heroes when they are admired for their athletic accomplishments. As a society, we yearn to feel a connection to them, bask in their success, and pattern our lives after them," Barbers said, quoting Joseph Hastings in an article written recently.

"Filipino sports icons have this amazing, unique way of making a positive impact in our society. They are our source of inspiration and strength in direst situations and serve as good role models, especially to the youth. With their incredible achievements that brought honor to our country, they deserve a spot at the Libingan ng mga Bayani," Barbers added.

The bill defined "Sports Heroes" as distinguished Filipino athletes who possess character and integrity and who have represented and brought honor and glory to the country.

It also set a parameter by saying that the athlete must win at least a gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games, at least a silver medal in any Asian Games or Asian Cup, or at least a bronze medal in any Olympic or World Games, or have been a world champion in any professional sports competition.

Barbers filed the bill days after athletics great Lydia de Vega succumbed to breast cancer at the age of 57.

The solon mentioned de Vega in his statement regarding the bill.

Those currently allowed to be buried in the LNMB are Medal of Valor awardees, Presidents or Commanders-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Vice Presidents, secretaries of National Defense, AFP Chiefs of Staff, Active and retired military personnel fo the AFP, Senators and Senate President, Veterans of the Philippine Revolution, the first and second world wars, among others.

National Artists and National Scientists of the Philippines are also allowed to be buried in the cemetery.


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