“I’m preparing a long memo to the President to ask if we can bid (for the 2030 Asian Games). If we do win that bid, the host will be the administration after the next administration. So we will have a good 10-year period to prepare,” Cayetano said in an interview.
The opening ceremony of the SEA Games on Nov. 30 has won praise, although it has not been free of controversy. Cayetano believes that hosting another international event would be a good investment for the country.
“Remember, in 2023, we will host the basketball World Cup. And in 2016 or 2017 we hosted the World Cup in volleyball. Industry-wise, this will bring in big money and employment opportunities to Filipinos if we develop our sports tourism,” he stressed.
The Speaker said he had discussed the matter with Philippine Olympic Committee president and Cavite 8th district Rep. Bambol Tolentino, who favored the proposal.
Cayetano suggested that the Duterte administration may pass on the bid to the next administration, and then to the next administration that would be in charge of the hosting.
“What is advantageous with the Asian Games is that venues need not be just in Luzon, and you can actually build facilities in the Visayas and Mindanao,” the representative of Taguig and Pateros pointed out.
Cayetano bared the plan after Olympic Council of Asia vice president Wei Jizhong of China suggested last weekend that the Philippines should consider bidding for “bigger events” such as the 2030 Asian Games, after experiencing first-hand the ongoing SEA Games.
“The Philippine Arena is perhaps a unique arena in the world. We witnessed the enthusiasm of all athletes, and showed the excellent tradition of the SEA Games so far. This means that the Philippines is capable to organize bigger-scale Games,” Wei explained.
30th SEA Games Opening Ceremony in the Philippine Arena (Photo/Reynald Denver Del Rosario)
Wei further said that the welcoming attitude of the Filipino people toward sports was one of the major factors that impressed him so far.
Hangzhou in China will host the 2022 Asian Games and Nagoya in Japan will be the host in 2026.
Cayetano also revealed that the Singaporean government has expressed willingness to help develop the country’s sports facilities.
He said he met with his Singaporean counterpart, Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin, who congratulated him and said they were happy with the country’s hosting of the SEA Games.
“Since we are building the National High School for Sports in Clark, there’s still a vacant five-hectare land there and I asked him for help and he said they are open to helping us,” Cayetano stressed.
Added praise came by way of Sports Industry Awards Asia yesterday. The international sports business and conference award-giving body recognized PHISGOC as the “Best SEA Games Organizer.”
“We are humbled by this recognition and we will strive to keep the momentum going for the country,” Cayetano said in receiving the award.
Scholarships, CSC eligibility
Government officials have proposed additional incentives for Filipino athletes winning medals in the SEA Games.
Civil Service Commission (CSC) commissioner Aileen Lizada told reporters yesterday that Iligan City Rep. Frederick Siao, chairman of the House committee on civil service and professional regulation, plans to file a bill that would grant automatic civil service eligibility to Filipino athletes, coaches and trainers who have won in international competitions, including in the ongoing Games.
Lizada said she has relayed Siao’s proposal to CSC chair Alicia dela Rosa-Bala and other CSC commissioners, and they were unanimous in expressing support for the proposed measure.
“The CSC supports this move, and the chairman (Bala) has relayed that we are willing to extend assistance if ever our assistance is needed in crafting this bill,” Lizada said.