Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday said the Philippine economy will benefit big-time if the country would be open to foreign businesses investing in its sports tourism.
“Sports tourism is a very, very big industry…If we’re open – we just passed a law na sa telco and other businesses pwede nang foreign, why not sa sports?” Cayetano said in an interview with the press on the sidelines of the send-off of volleyball teams bound to Vietnam for the 31st Southeast Asian Games.
The former Speaker was referring to Republic Act No. 11659 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in March this year which excludes telecommunications, airlines, expressways and tollways, railways, and shipping from the 40-percent foreign ownership cap.
Cayetano noted that the Philippines has a lot of traits that are suited for sports tourism just waiting to be leveraged commercially.
Clark and many other places all over the country, for example, can generate income by serving as locations for summer camps and winter camps for the training of foreign athletes such as football and baseball players who come from countries with harsh winters.
“Pag nangyari ‘yon, isipin mo makikita ng mga bata y’ung kanilang mga inspirasyon, at the same time there’s technology transfer din,” Cayetano said.
He also said the regions across the Philippines can gain income from a lot of international and local sports activities by simply building sports facilities such as colosseums and playing fields.
The former Speaker also urged Filipino sports fans to keep supporting all forms of sports.
“Kung gusto nating gumanda din ang future ng ating mga atleta, y’ung suporta natin as fans [dapat malakas] kasi susunod na y’ung mga kumpanya, mga sponsor, mga endorsement,” he said.
If all of these happen, not only will Filipino athletes be able to finally make a career out of their talent but more jobs will also be generated.
“Kung sabay-sabay tayong magbubuhos sa sports, sabay-sabay tayong malaki ang aanihin sa sports talaga,” the former Speaker said.
Cayetano, who served as chairman of PHISGOC that organized the SEA Games in 2019, was a principal author of the law that created the National Academy of Sports which is mandated to provide specialized education and support for Filipino budding athletes, as well as state-of-the-art facilities.