Philippines' first gold medalist rewarded 
with money and homes


By Caitlin O'Kane, CBS NEWS, July 27, 2021

Hidilyn Diaz won the first Olympic gold medal for the Philippines on Monday. The weightlifter ended the country's 97-year Olympic drought, and now will be rewarded for her historic accomplishment. Diaz will receive at least 33 million pesos – about $600,000 – from the country. She has also been offered two homes.

The 30-year-old will be given a condo in the Eastwood City development in Quezon City by Megaworld, a property empire owned by real estate tycoon Dr. Andrew L. Tan. 

"This epic moment is about 97 years in the making, and this is our way of saying thanks to Hidilyn for making us all proud," Kevin L. Tan, chief strategy officer of Megaworld Corporation, said in a statement. "We believe that it's just right to give our first-ever Olympic gold medalist a home in our first-ever township, Eastwood City, where she can enjoy the township lifestyle with her family and loved ones."

Diaz will have not one, but two places to live. Another leading Philippine real estate company said it would give Diaz a condo unit in an upscale district in Manila, according to the Associated Press.

The two homes are in addition to the 30 million pesos in cash she will receive from Philippine officials and companies, the AP reports.

The group of officials and companies pledged the money and rewards to anyone who brought home Olympic gold – a feat for the small country, which only sent 19 athletes to compete in 11 sports at the Tokyo Olympics.

Diaz was one of two women representing the country in weightlifting. She broke into tears after completing an overall lift of 224 kilograms during the event — an Olympic record.

The country's Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar congratulated the athlete after her win, saying: "We are one with the Filipino nation in celebrating the remarkable and historic success of Hidilyn Diaz in the recently held Women's 55kg Weightlifting Competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games."

"We are so proud of you," Andanar said in the statement.

After winning gold, Diaz, a four-time Olympian, said she was looking forward to going home and being with her family, whom she missed while training overseas. "I'm looking forward to enjoying life because I've been in Malaysia for almost three years, so I'm really thankful that I can go home now and celebrate with my family," she said, according to the AP. 

Diaz won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games but said it was a "dream come true" to win gold. "I just want to say that we Filipino are strong. We Filipino can compete here at the Olympics. We can do it. To all the young generation in the Philippines, please dream high. That's how I started. I dreamed high and finally I was able to do it," she said.

Phivolcs lowers Taal alert level due to ‘decreased unrest’

( - July 24, 2021 - 9:48am

MANILA, Philippines — State volcanologists lowered Friday night Taal’s status from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2, indicating “decreased unrest” in the volcano.

Phivolcs noted that “there has been a cessation of eruptive activity” at Taal Volcano following the phreatomagmatic eruption of the main crater last July 1 and 19 weak phreatomagmatic bursts until July 9.

\“Unrest since then has been characterized by renewed seismic activity, generally declining volcanic gas emission, very slight ground deformation and positive microgravity anomalies,” Phivolcs said.

Phivolcs warned that the lowering of the alert level over Taal Volcano should not be interpreted that unrest has ceased or that the threat of eruption has disappeared.

“Should an uptrend or pronounced change in monitored parameters forewarn a potential eruption, the alert level may be raised back to Alert Level 3,” state volcanologists said.

They added that people who have returned to their homes after the alert level was lowered must be prepared for a quick and organized evacuation should Alert Level 2 be hoisted back up.

At Alert Level 2, sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur within the Taal Volcano Island and along its coast.

Phivolcs recommends that people be strictly barred from entering Taal Volcano Island and Taal’s permanent danger zone.

Hybrid electric road train fabrication project to be launched in Ilagan City

in August

By Charissa Luci-Atienza , Published July 24, 2021, 12:00 AM


MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has forged a partnership with the local government unit (LGU) of Ilagan City to fabricate the Hybrid Electric Road Train (HERT).


DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the partnership between DOST-II and the Ilagan City is in line with the creation of a Smarter City Belt in Cagayan Valley.

“The launching and MOU (memorandum of understanding) signing of the project will be conducted on August 11, 2021, in time with the Cityhood Anniversary Celebration of Ilagan City,” he said during his weekly report on Friday, July 23.

He cited that the City of Ilagan has already committed to providing two sets of HERT.

“Each set consists of three interlinked coaches complete with an air-conditioning system for the passenger’s comfort and convenience. It can be run by diesel fuel or electric thus the name Hybrid Electric Road Train,” he said

He said one set of the three-coach train can accommodate up to 120 passengers.

“The group who will construct the train is composed of metal fabricators from Isabela, including those from the City of Ilagan. Isabela State University (ISU) will conduct the research component of the project,” the DOST chief said.

He said DOST-II is tasked to monitor the project until its completion, while the DOST-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) will provide the technical assistance for the project