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Opinion

Euphoria

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

I said in the previous article that politicians would jump on the bandwagon of Hidilyn Diaz's Olympic gold feat. But netizens were quick to remind the government of how she was included in the Oust-Duterte matrix of 2019. Because of the inclusion, Diaz had to endure the vitriol of pro-government trolls and supporters, bad enough she feared for her life. And it didn't end there. Some called her "laos na" or a has-been. Some called her a loser. But she soldiered on --she is a Philippine Air Force sergeant now promoted to staff sergeant-- and with little support, especially from the government, she trained to get to where she is today, at the top of the world.

The government has been on the defensive. One person said he does not know Hidilyn's inclusion in the matrix since he wasn't the presidential spokesman at the time. Oh, but surely he heard of it. He insists there is nothing to apologize for since he did not say anything about Diaz's inclusion. Another person initially did not apologize and even blamed the media for "misinterpreting" the matrix even if a diagram was presented. Then he apologizes, but tells Diaz her hardships were "misplaced" and the intention of the person who came up with the matrix was not to hurt. No less than President Duterte told Diaz upon her courtesy call via teleconferencing to "let bygones be bygones" practically acknowledging what they did to her. I believe that an apology to Diaz would mean they have to apologize to everyone included in the matrix but was never proven to be a destabilizer, nor was there any evidence presented to prove they were. Being included in any list, be it a list or a matrix released by this administration is nothing to be coy about. People have been killed just by being on a list especially during those early years. Hidilyn herself feared for her life and with good reason. But, let bygones be bygones, right?

Nevertheless, the country is euphoric over Hidilyn's victory. Many companies and corporations have come up with creative and witty ways to congratulate her while incorporating their logos or slogans. Accolades and advertising. Brilliant. Hidilyn herself comes home to a windfall of cash, properties, and soon, endorsements. President Duterte offered P3 million and a house in Zamboanga. She was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Merit, the highest government can award to a civilian without Congress approval. The joke where Hidilyn suddenly has a multitude of relatives is already going around. Comes with the territory, I suppose.

She will continue to represent the country in international weightlifting competitions, quashing any ideas of retirement. Tournaments are already in her sights such as the next SEA Games, the 2022 IWF World Championships, and hopefully, the 2024 Paris Olympic Games making it her fifth Olympics should that happen. With her now-historic Olympic feat, support from everywhere might not be hard to find.

HIDILYN DIAZ
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