Senator-elect Alan Peter Cayetano on Saturday encouraged varsity athletes to practice good sportsmanship, saying it is a way to represent the country well and to glorify God at the same time.
“You represent our country, you are God’s creation, kaya sabi ko sa kanila bawal ang pikon, bawal ang basagan, because if we do that, we cannot give glory to God,” Cayetano said during the opening of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women’s Volleyball Tournament of the NCAA Season 97 on June 11, 2022.
The veteran lawmaker, who led the Philippine Southeast Asian (SEA) Games Organizing Committee in 2019, said Filipino athletes are in for a windfall in the next few years as more sports become popular and profitable among sports fans in the country and as investments in infrastructure translate into more activity in the sports tourism sector.
“If you look at our (SEA Games) athletes, you look at our coaches, our volunteers, nakita nila yung vision. Hundreds of billions of dollars ang sports tourism sa buong mundo,” Cayetano said.
“You young people who are in front of us today, we’d like to see the day na katulad sa Turkey at Brazil, hundreds of thousands of dollars, kung aabot pa ng millions of dollars ang suweldo ng volleyball player,” he added.
The world’s 50 highest paid athletes collectively raked in more than $2.9 billion in fiscal year 2021, with average salaries for international athletes running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Locally, Cayetano said he is excited to see how the market will embrace and reward emerging fan sports in the country, pointing out that basketball isn’t the lone lucrative sports in town.
“I’m very happy specifically for volleyball, football, softball, and other games po na sumisikat sa bansa, and believe me po, sa bawat sulok ng Pilipinas, this will really help your career,” Cayetano said, addressing the athletes present.
He also praised the character being formed among the varsity athletes of the NCAA, saying that sports has the power to make upright men and women among athletes.
“Nakita mo ba yang mga athletes na yan? Yan ang future natin. Alam mo ba yung teamwork, alam mo ba yung discipline, alam mo ba yung sacrifice, alam mo ba yung itinuturo na tama is tama and mali is mali, dito natin makikita sa NCAA, dito natin makikita sa sports yan,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano authored the National Academy of Sports Act in the House of Representatives which called for the establishment of the country’s first sports secondary education program. It was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2020.
The first phase of the National Academy of Sports main campus has just completed construction in New Clark City, Tarlac.