Malacañang claimed on Monday that the Philippines had its best Olympics performance in the Tokyo games because of the Duterte administration’s investment in Filipino athletes.

“Siguro hindi coincidence na we had the best ever performance in the Olympics, including our first gold medal even in our history under the leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a media briefing.

The Philippines won its first Olympic gold medal courtesy of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz. Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam won silver medals while Eumir Marcial collected bronze in their respective boxing classes.

“The figures will bear me out, pero talaga naman pong nagtanim at nag-invest ang ating pangulo sa ating mga atleta. Kauna-unahang panahon po, record po ang suportang pinansiyal na ibinigay natin sa ating mga atleta, at nakita naman po natin ang naging prutas ng ganiyang investment.”

President Rodrigo Duterte’s government, from 2017 to 2021, had allotted more than P7.748 billion to fund the Philippine Sports Commission, more than seven times higher than the previous administration.

Of the number, P200 million was allocated for Tokyo Olympics preparations.

But several athletes, including Diaz and Marcial, had called on the government for more financial support.

In May 2019, Diaz lamented how difficult it was to secure funding for her Olympic campaign.

“[Is it] okay to ask sponsorship sa mga private companies towards Tokyo 2020?” Diaz wrote in her Instagram story. “Hirap na hirap na ako. I need financial support,” she wrote in an Instagram story.

Marcial, in May this year, also decried that government allowance was insufficient to support his training overseas.

“Tingin niyo sapat ang P43,000 monthly allowance para sa preparation para sa Olympics? (which is allowance ko yun sa sarili ko as a national athlete) Do you think I can rely d’yan sa P43,000 pesos para sa plane tickets, accommodation, food, coaching staff, supplements, masseur, and etc?” he wrote in a Facebook post. John Ezekiel J. Hirro