It’s been 20 years since boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco bagged a silver medal in the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996.
A lot has happened in the Philippines since then, including four presidential elections, an EDSA revolution, and a Madonna concert, yet the former boxer laments that he still hasn’t received the PHP2.5M incentive promised to him by the government.
It may be recalled that Onyok won silver in the light flyweight division after losing a controversial match against Bulgaria’s Daniel Petrov.
“May binigay po sa akin na PHP750,000 tapos may binago silang batas yata,” Onyok told ABS-CBN News’ Dyan Castillejo. “Nakakuha po ako ng PHP1.1 million.”
(I was given PHP750,000, then they might’ve changed the law. I was able to get PHP1.1M)
He was, however, reportedly promised a bigger amount.
There was a bill filed at the House of Representative to grant more incentives to the Olympian.
Unfortunately, the counterpart measure was not passed in the Senate because of a leadership issue that the chamber was facing then.
Onyok met with senator and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao to appeal his case.
He planned to use his monetary rewards to set up a gym that could help discover future Olympic medalists.
Velasco’s statement comes right after the win of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, who bagged the silver medal at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Diaz will receive PHP5M from the government.