ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 31 Aug) – Olympians Hidilyn Diaz and Eumir Marcial are flying home Wednesday on board a Philippine Air Force (PAF) plane that is set to land on Edwin Andrews Air Base (EAAB) here Wednesday morning.
This, as their home branch in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) takes over in hosting their homecoming. The duo, both PAF enlisted personnel, will be given military honors upon arrival, with a motorcade around the air base.
A contingent of the local government unit is expected to be at the EAAB during the short and simple ceremony.
While officials at the air base refuse to provide estimated time of arrival as they normally do, citing security reasons, speculations from insiders say that the two Olympians are expected to arrive in the early morning.
Christian Olasiman, events management officer at the City Mayor’s Office, said that Diaz and Marcial are set to proceed to City Hall after the EAAB reception.
“There will be a short motorcade as the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force] only permitted 10 vehicles at the most,” Olasiman said. He added that this will be after the star athletes’ meeting with Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco, which will be held after the rain of confetti that the city has prepared for them.
Mayor Climaco is set to present a check of P2.5 million to Diaz and P1 million to Marcial, which are the cash incentives to be given to them by virtue of City Ordinance No. 565.
The motorcade, with the two Olympic medalists in two separate decorated floats, will then move to the Sen. Roseller T. Lim Boulevard where they will be unveiling their respective brass plates and stamping their palm marks on their respective molding cases, Olasiman shared.
A homecoming for a Zamboangueño is never complete without a solemn visit to the Shrine of the Lady of the Pillar at Fort Pilar, and the city’s son and daughter athletes will do so after the boulevard mold stamping.
“We already passed the Sangguniang Panlungsod Resolution of commendation and congratulations. It will be presented tomorrow when they visit during the session,” Vice-Mayor Rommel Agan said.
According to Councilor Elbert Atilano, chair of the city council’s committee on sports, these awards will be presented by Youth Councilor John Cary Pioc, being the co-author of Ordinance No. 565. (Frencie Carreon / MindaNews)