CEBUANA Olympian and Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Mary Joy Tabal couldn’t express her happiness when she finally met with President Rodrigo Duterte at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañang Palace yesterday.
Duterte awarded medals and cash incentives to the Filipino medalists in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur last month.
Tabal, who ruled women’s marathon in the biennial games, was one of the 24 gold medalists of the Philippines.
The country bagged a total of 121 medals and finished sixth overall in the 11-country regional sporting meet.
“I was very excited,” Tabal said about her first meeting with the president, who is also a bisaya.
“I couldn’t express my happiness upon seeing him in person,” added Tabal, who also shared that she was able to shake the president’s hand twice.
The gold medalists received P300,000, silver winners got P150,000 while bronze medalists took home P60,000.
Presidential Adviser for Sports Dennis Uy also gave an additional P50,000 for the gold medalists, P30,000 for the silver medalists and P10,000 for the bronze medalists.
In all, Tabal got P350,000, which she plans to use for investments.
“I already have the money from the (Cebu City) Mayor and City Council for my training so I’ll add this for my investments like lot and property,” Tabal said.
The incentives for the medal-winning athletes and the coaches were based on Republic Act 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.
Aside from cash incentives, the medal-winning athletes received presidential citations. /With reports from Inquirer.net