Pia: Let’s build a nation of winners!

Co-sponsorship speech of Senator Pia S. Cayetano on Senate Bill No. 1086, establishing a Philippine High School for Sports

Mr. President,

This is a happy day for me because I drafted and filed this bill 9 years ago. I was so much younger then and ran so much faster. But so did the presiding officer. 

It is no secret that I am a believer in sports, and I believe that sports can change lives. I am proud to be a member of a Senate where majority of the members include sports in their lives:

Needless to say, Sen. Manny Pacquaio is considered as one of the greatest professional boxers of all time.

Senator Manny Pacquiao is the only boxer in history to win world titles in eight different weight divisions.

The Senate President, Philippine National Team in bowling, garnered gold several times, and currently is a golf enthusiast who still continues to win tournaments.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III was a 7-time member of the Philippine bowling team. He competed twice in the World Cup and was an international gold medalist in ten pin bowling.

Our Majority Floor Leader, Migz, National Champion and 1989 World Champion. I saw the video and I wish we could play it. But please interpellate me later on so I can play that World Championship… the winning moves. I think a few kilos lighter. 

Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri was a world Arnis champion.

And then we have our “never say die” basketball players. Sen. Joel Villanueva, a UST Growling Tigers UAAP champion 1994-1995 and Philippine national team.

Senator Joel Villanueva played for the UST Growling Tigers champion team and the Phllippine national basketball team.

And then Senator Sonny Angara, who is part of the Senate Defenders – that is the official name of our basketball team. 

Senator Sonny Angara plays for the Senate Defenders. The team actively competes in inter-government agency basketball tournaments, such as the UNTV Cup.

Sen. Bong Go, who brings serious professionalism to the games that he plays with the likes of my brother. He was part of the roster of the Muntinlupa Cagers in the Maharlika Basketball League, a pro league started by Sen. Manny Pacquiao.

A known supporter of sports in Davao City and national athletes, Senator Bong Go was part of the Muntinlupa Cagers’ roster in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).

Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, my batch mate in UP, we were both UP volleyball Maroons. And he was also a track and field runner – a track runner. 

Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan was a track athlete and volleyball player for the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons.

Next is Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, I approached him to ask for a picture. That is actually not his main sport but that is his current sport. Correct? Am I correct? But his sport as a young athlete included soccer, swimming, and taekwondo. 

Young Senator Ralph Recto played football, swimming and taekwondo. His current sport: Boxing.

So again, please interpellate me so that I can put the pictures – the appropriate pictures of Sen. Recto while I am defending this bill. 

And then our main sponsor, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian. That was the… I actually failed to get the full description, but the picture speaks for itself. 

The principal sponsor of SBN 1086, Senator Win Gatchalian, played basketball in high school at Grace Christian School and in college at Boston University.

And yours truly, a UP Maroon and National Team Player for Volleyball as well.

Senator Pia Cayetano was part of the last UP Lady Maroons squad to win a UAAP championship. She also played for the Philippine National Women’s Volleyball Team.

Anyway, so now that I have put you all in a better mood, the sad reality we face. Mr. President, is that many of our young athletes who show talent are usually forced to choose between an education and sports. That window where they can shine as an athlete is not open for a long time. They must take advantage of that moment in time. And if they miss it, the moment is gone. 

Because of that, some choose to give up schooling, others give up their sports.  Those who give up schooling take a huge risk. Betting on sports alone for your future is a shot in the dark.  Not everyone gets to be a Manny Pacquiao. After their moment in the lime light, without an education, they have little to fall back on. 

I’d like to share another story, which is the story of many athletes today. One of my lawyers, Joei Gana-Teves – she made it to the Philippine volleyball youth team. But her teacher did not believe in sports and considered her absent every time she attended practices and threatened to fail her when she had to leave for one week to participate in the Asian youth games.

She then made a choice to go to the games and was very much impressed but at the same time saddened that other countries like Singapore and Malaysia, had a national sports high school where they were able to study and do the sport they love at the same time. 

But this need not happen, Mr. President.

In countries that take sports seriously, they start at a young age. Those who show talent are given the chance to train with the best coaches and with equally talented and driven athletes. They are able to do that because they have sports centers all over the country and they have sports schools – high schools and universities. National sports schools and universities.

I had the privilege of visiting some of these sports high schools in Germany and Spain. The young athletes were able to focus on their sport but at the same time continue their studies.

Fast forward, and obviously, Senator Bong Go and I have the same source. We both have visited New Clark City. This was very early in 2018, when we did some groundbreaking. This is the initial stages of the construction. 

Construction of New Clark City Athletics Stadium started in 2018.

Fast forward, not even two years later. This is the New Clark City today….

The New Clark City Athletic Stadium. (September 6, 2019)

This aerial photo was actually taken from Gretchen Ho. I borrowed that from her. If you look at the main circle, that is the stadium, and the track in the middle is the main track. You will wonder, why is there another track on the upper right side. Well that is the practice track, the warm up track. That is required to have that Class 1 certification. 

And, if you look at the next picture I am about to show, so this is the picture of the actual track and stadium, the next picture. Okay, the one on the right is an actual requirement also to get that Class 1 certification. It is an 80-meter indoor track where you warm up just before your event is called. So you have those two warm up tracks in addition to the main track. That is air-conditioned by the way. 

I happened to visit a few weeks ago, and those are national track athletes that I was running with. 

This is the swimming pool. Take note, that is an 8-lane, 50-meter pool. But that is just the warm up pool. The main pool is 10 lanes and has a bigger capacity. And then on the right side is the diving pool. So together, this is also a world-class certified aqua center, the only one in the country. 

This is the dormitories, the same photo that Sen. Go showed you. We actually have the national triathlon team and the national track and field team living in these quarters now. And pretty soon, this will be the home of the Southeast Asian Games athletes who will come here to participate in December. 

New Clark City is a sustainable city that will house our athletes for the SEA Games. And this is also where this sports school will be built.  

It is envisioned that the students will have access to vocational, sports, and academic tracks so that each of them can still fulfill their own dreams.

Mr. President, Senate Bill 506, which I filed, is considered in this Committee Report. However, my version, Mr. President, specifically has a provision that says that the track will not be limited to sports. Because there are athletes who dream to be other things, to be more than athletes. They can be an athlete and they can have other professions as well. 

Just because I am only familiar with the UP graduates, I use them as an example. Mr. President, UP has produced, among others, two summa cum laude graduates, one with a BS in Math, summa cum laude, and another one with a BS in Sports Science who went on and is currently in her third year in med school with PGH UP College of Manila. They did this while being in the varsity of UP. The BS Math major was a Judo player, and the other one was a volleyball player. 

Assuming that there was a high school for sports when they were younger, it would have been really sad if we limited them to a sports program, because clearly, they had the ability and the desire to do something else as well. 

And that is why we are also pushing for programs beyond sports to be offered for Senior High here. Mr. President, I call on your support dear colleagues. Let us help make these individual dreams come true and at the same time build a nation of winners.

Thank you. #

Senator Pia Cayetano delivers her co-sponsorship speech of the bill seeking to establish a Philippine High School for Sports. She showed throwback photos of senators competing in their favorite/chosen sports – to the delight of her colleagues.

Pia: Support our athletes in the SEA Games – and beyond!

“Our slogan is very simple – ‘We win as one!’ Magkakasama tayo sa hirap at ginhawa. We don’t want our athletes to feel alone. We are together, we are supporting you.”

Senator Pia S. Cayetano had this message for Filipino athletes competing in the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which the Philippines will host from November 30 to December 11.

In a media interview at the New Clark City (NCC) sports complex in Capas, Tarlac, Cayetano stressed the importance of making national athletes feel that they are fully supported by government and the Filipino people. 

A member of the Philippine women’s volleyball team when she was in college, Cayetano visited over the weekend the newly built facilities of the sprawling sports complex, which would serve as the main hub for the 30th SEA Games. 

The senator also got to swim at the main pool of the Aquatics Center and run at the track oval of the Athletics Stadium, together with members of the Philippine triathlon team and training pool. Both facilities meet the standards of international governing bodies, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA). 

“Naging national athlete din ako, sa volleyball. Tandang-tanda ko pa, sa Rizal Stadium (in Manila) kami natutulog at gumigising around 4:30 to 5 am to run. Some of us, including myself, still have classes. So we have to have our training very early,” the senator recalled.

“The fact that we were going to represent our country, honor na ‘yun. Pero iba pa rin ang inspiration na makatakbo ka [in a world-class facility like this]. So here I am, decades after that opportunity to represent our country. When I see these facilities, I am so happy for our present generation of athletes,” she added.

Cayetano said that athletes trained in the proper environment have been proven to perform better. “Our athletes will be able to train and focus in the next few months in an inspired manner; in a way that they feel na suportado sila ng gobyerno, suportado sila ng mga Pilipino.”

The NCC is a flagship project of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). The complex consists of internationally accredited sports facilities like the Athletics Stadium, Aquatics Center, as well as an Athletes’ Village. 

The senator believes that the key to building a strong pool of athletes lies not just in providing the right facilities, but also the right vision and support.

“Without the vision, wala lahat ng sinabi ko. But with our President who really believes in molding the youth, in giving them a future, then I feel it can really happen.”

Cayetano also cited the importance of support that would come from the private sector and local communities. 

“If you are in the private sector at gusto mong mag-donate ng oras at resources mo, there are so many ways to support our athletes. Even the local communities, kasama po doon. Kaya lahat ng development dito [in NCC], very involved po ang local government ng buong Central Luzon,” noted Cayetano. 

“Ang importante, buhos ng support. Kasi the end-goal should not just be the SEA Games – may Asian Games pa, at may Olympics pa.”

“And I want to take this opportunity to highlight our very first Filipino athlete to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and that is no other than our pole-vaulter, EJ [Ernest John] Obiena. His feat was recently accomplished in Italy. Congratulations sa ‘yo, EJ, isa kang inspirasyon!” she concluded. #

Senator Pia Cayetano trying out the track oval at the newly built 20,000-seater New Clark City Athletics Stadium.
Senator Pia Cayetano stands beside the main pool of the New Clark City Aquatics Center, which has received world-class certification from FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation), the world governing body in aquatic sports.
At the press conference announcing the New Clark City (NCC) Triathlon 2019 which will be held at the NCC sports complex from October 19 to 20. (L-R): Triathlete John “Rambo” Chicano, 
MTD Clark Inc. President Eng. Patrick Nicholas David, Senator Pia Cayetano, BCDA President and CEO Vince Dizon, Triathlete Nikko Huelgas, Robinsons Land Corp. Assistant Marketing Director Kristynne Tan, and GoClark Sports & Events Director Jumbo Tayag.

Pia sees Philippine Sports High School rising in New Clark City

Senator Pia S. Cayetano now sees her long-time vision for the country to have its own sports academy moving closer to reality with the near completion of the New Clark City (NCC) sports complex in Capas, Tarlac.

At a press conference held Friday at the newly built NCC Aquatics Center, Cayetano said the sprawling complex could very well host the country’s first Philippine High School for Sports (PHSS) that would train young, aspiring athletes for the national pool. 

“My dream ever since is for our athletes to be housed in, not just a dorm, but a family-run residential area kung saan may mga mag-aalaga sa kanila. And within these premises are the sports facilities that they would need to train in,” shared Cayetano, a former member of the national volleyball team and principal author of Senate Bill No. 506 seeking to establish the PHSS. 

“Now we have the opportunity – with the way the Sports Complex has been planned – for that to become a reality,” she added.

The NCC is a flagship project of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), which forms part of the Duterte administration’s Build, Build, Build infrastructure program. 

Phase 1A of the NCC project involves a 40-hectare Sports Complex that will serve as the main hub of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, which the country will host this year. 

The complex consists of world-class sports facilities, including an Athletics Stadium, an Aquatics Center, as well as an Athletes’ Village. 

“If you have a facility where [promising] student-athletes can be students and athletes at the same time, then that’s a win-win solution for building the future for these kids. They can excel in their craft, which is sports, pero hindi pa rin nila mapapabayaan ang education nila,” she explained. 

On the other hand, the senator stressed that it takes more than just investing in infrastructure to fully promote sports development among young Filipinos.

“What I feel is key here is not just the availability of the facilities, but the [overall] vision. Without the desire to see the benefit of investing in our youth or giving them this kind of facility, the right food, the right nutrition, and mentoring, our vision will not be a reality,” she stressed.

“But with a government that really believes in molding the youth, in giving them a future, then I feel it can really happen,” Cayetano added. 

In his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte said he would support the move to create a national academy for sports for high school students.#

We win as one: House Speaker Alan Cayetano, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Vince Dizon, and Senator Pia Cayetano at the New Clark City Aquatics Center. The newly built facility recently got accreditation from Fédération internationale de natation (FINA), the international federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee for administering international competition in water sports.
Senator Pia S. Cayetano, who once donned the national tri-colors for volleyball, running with athletes at the brand new Athletics Stadium in New Clark City.

Second batch of bills filed to advance PH development goals

Senator Pia S. Cayetano on Monday (July 8) filed ten more bills in the Senate to support the Duterte administration’s efforts in attaining the country’s sustainable development goals. 

The returning senator said her second batch of bills reinforces her vision of helping the country meet its targets in line with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 and the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In pursuit of Goal 3 of the SDGs, which is to ensure healthy lives and promote the wellbeing for all, Cayetano is pushing for programs to provide better healthcare services and facilities to Filipinos, particularly on reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. 

These include three bills seeking to provide one midwife in every barangay; establish specialty centers in government hospitals and medical centers; and the promotion of Folic Acid food fortification and supplementation.

Furthermore, the senator filed measures aimed at upholding the country’s commitment to Goal 13 of the SDGs, which is to implement policies towards climate change mitigation.

Among these is the bill establishing the Department of Disaster Resilience, which will become the country’s primary agency in charge of responding to disasters and mitigating its impacts.

Other pro-environmental bills filed by Cayetano include the proposed ‘Sustainable Forest Management Act,’ which provides for the conservation of the country’s forest lands and resources; and the ‘Bicycle Act of 2019,’ which proposes to recognize bicycles as an alternative and sustainable mode of transportation.

Apart from these, Cayetano is pushing for the ‘Tulong Puhunan’ bill to institutionalize nationwide microfinance programs for the development of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs). This is in line with Goal 8 of the SDGs – to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all. The measure is also inspired by the success of the Presyo Trabaho Kita (PTK) program, a brainchild of the senator’s brother, Taguig Representative Alan Cayetano, which helps provide seed capital to people’s organizations across different sectors nationwide. 

“Let this be a testament of our continued commitment to achieve the collective aspirations of Filipinos, as embodied in the government’s ‘Ambisyon Natin 2040’ vision, where every family enjoys ‘Matatag, Maginhawa, at Panatag na Buhay,’” the senator stressed.

Cayetano likewise filed pro-youth and -family measures during the second week, including the Magna Carta of Student-Athletes; Increasing the Maximum Value of the Family Home; as well as an Act Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines.

“My objective is to keep championing the rights and welfare of every member of the family. This has been my fight ever since. Hopefully, with the help of our colleagues in Congress, our legislative action plans can help us attain our shared vision for a better country,” the senator concluded. #

Pia wants year-round sports programs in schools

Senatorial aspirant Pia S. Cayetano is urging local government officials and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) leaders to promote year-round sports programs in their respective communities, to encourage Filipino students to stay in school.

In a radio interview in the “Home of the Champions” General Santos City on Tuesday, Cayetano stressed the importance of sports in providing more opportunities for the youth to be productive and to develop their discipline. 

“Having year-round sports programs for the youth can really help our kids stay and excel in school. For me, the kind of discipline that they learn from sports is beneficial to their growth and development,” she said. 

The congresswoman added that sports activities are a good way to motivate young Filipinos to keep coming to school, which would in turn reduce the number of out-of-school youths and student dropouts in the country.

She then called on Filipino parents and teachers to keep encouraging their kids to harness their energy in sports and apply the same in their studies. 

Cayetano was a varsity volleyball player during her college days, and was even recruited to play for the Philippine Women’s Volleyball Team. When she became a senator, she authored laws that provide benefits to young athletes, one of which is the Student-Athlete Protection Act (Republic Act 10676). 
Meanwhile, Cayetano also urged local officials and SK leaders to give assistance to the families of out-of-school youths in order to ensure that the kids are properly guided to continue their studies and have a better future.

“One of the most common causes of children dropping out from schools is usually problems in their homes. Kaya nananawagan ako sa mga leaders natin on the ground na tulungan ang mga pamilyang ito para matuloy sa pag-aaral ang mga anak nila and make something of their lives,” Cayetano stressed. #

Senatoriable Pia S. Cayetano speaks at the International Youth Forum’s World Youth Camp held on Monday (April 15) in Lagao Gymnasium, General Santos City.

Pia calls on youth volunteers to help prep for SEA Games

LAKESHORE, TAGUIG CITY – House Deputy Speaker and sports advocate Pia S. Cayetano is encouraging young Filipinos from different provinces to volunteer and take part in the Philippines’ hosting of the 30th South East Asian (SEA) Games. 

The Philippine South East Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), in cooperation with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), launched its Volunteers Program on Friday (April 11) to mobilize youth volunteers for the region’s premiere multi-sport event.

Cayetano said local communities play an important role in ensuring the success of the country’s hosting of the SEA Games from November 30 to December 10 2019.

“Once the organizing committees finalize all the venues for the games, we need each community within that area to volunteer, especially the youth,” she stressed.

“On a macro scale, the Philippines will be the host; but on a micro scale, we need to harness our local communities so that we can really win as one,” she added.
The Taguig congresswoman said engaging local communities for the 30th SEA Games could also boost local tourism in their respective areas.
Moreover, she said it opens opportunities to showcase what the Philippines has to offer to the region and the world, apart from being the home of talented athletes.

“There’s a lot of time for us to invite and really organize local volunteers. Regardless of your background, there is a role for you to play in this year’s SEA Games,” Cayetano said.

”On my part, I’d like to lead by example because as a former student-athlete, I know how it feels to win, to lose, to wake up early, and to put in my best efforts in making my country proud,” she added.

Cayetano, who is running for re-election in the coming Senatorial polls, played for the Philippine Women’s Volleyball Team when she was in college. 
At the launch of the volunteers program, Cayetano was seen interacting with volleyball stars Alyssa Valdez and Fille Cainglet Cayetano, as well as national athletes and sports personalities. 

Cayetano is a known advocate of sports and the youth sector in Congress, having passed laws that give benefits to young Filipino athletes like the Student-Athletes Protection Act (Republic Act 10676). #

Senatoriable Pia S. Cayetano and volleyball players Fille Cainglet-Cayetano and Alyssa Valdez pose “as one” during this Friday’s launching of the Volunteers Program for the 30th South East Asain (SEA) Games, which will be hosted by the country from November 30 to December 10 2019.