Surigao del Norte Representative Robert Ace Barbers filed House Bill 3716, allowing the country’s “sports heroes” to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
The lawmaker from Mindanao said the proposed bill will let the internment of sports heroes in the distinguished cemetery “in recognition of their enormous work, devotion, and sacrifices they have experienced to bring pride and respect to our country.”
“I hope that it is not too late to honor our sports heroes like Lydia de Vega. This measure is but a token of gratitude that we all enormously owe her and our other unsung sports heroes,” Barbers said.
Tagged as “Asia’s Sprint Queen,” De Vega passed away on 10 August, following a four-year battle with breast cancer. She was 57.
She was laid to rest at the Meycauayan Memorial Park on Wednesday.
“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,” Barbers said.
“With their incredible achievements that brought honor to our country, they deserve a spot at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.”
Philippine Sports Commission executive director lawyer Guillermo Iroy welcomed Barber’s proposal.
“It is a positive development for sports heroes and heroine who gave honors and glory to our country,” Iroy told Daily Tribune in a telephone conversation.
“We welcome this proposal by our good Congressman from Mindanao as it will motivate further our national athletes and coaches.”
According to the bill, athletes who have represented and brought honor and glory to the country by winning at least a gold medal in any Southeast Asian Games, a silver medal at any Asian Games or Asian Cup, a bronze medal at any Olympic or World Games, or a world championship in any professional sporting event are considered to be “sports heroes.”
Barber’s bill, if enacted, would grant the said athletes to afford the chance to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“Sports stars become heroes when they are admired for their athletic accomplishments,” Barbers said.
“As a society, we yearn to feel a connection to them, bask in their success, and pattern our lives after them.”