One of the most impassioned figures in Philippine sports, Taguig City Congresswoman Pia Cayetano did not mince her words earlier today when she addressed the Philippine National Women’s Volleyball Team and the stakeholders of local volleyball during the launch of the 2017 Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship.
A former volleyball player for the University of the Philippines, Cayetano touched on the several issues plaguing local volleyball.
She began by recalling her time with National Team when she played in the Asian Seniors Tournament in Fukuoka, Japan in 1983. Although they had fared poorly against Asia’s powerhouses, she vividly remembers the Philippines’ time as the volleyball giant in Southeast Asia.
Admitting that she had not kept up-to-date with volleyball proceedings until a few years ago, she was surprised to find out just how far down the local volleyball program has fallen off.
“I was very sad to hear na how many years na nawalan ng Philippine Team sa volleyball. I cannot imagine how this could have happened,” recalled the former senator, who was pivotal in reforms especially in amateur and collegiate sports.
Cayetano was still a senator when the Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas Inc. replaced the Philippine Volleyball Federation in 2015. Since then, the road back to volleyball relevance has not gotten any smoother, with numerous maneuverings and issues springing up within the LVPI ranks and the country’s dueling volleyball leagues, the upstart Philippine Superliga and the pioneering Premier Volleyball League.
For Cayetano, the players deserve fair chances to represent the country and continually develop their skills. She made it a point to address the leaders of local volleyball.
“What I can say is, I want to take this opportunity to reach out to all the stakeholders – officials, players, fans,” the current Taguig representative said.
“Whether in the Senate or at the House of Representatives, I continually got requests to meet about the problems in our sports. What we have to acknowledge that, first of all, it is not easy. But we have to do a better job. I’m addressing this to the people of behind the volleyball players. We must do a better job in developing these players and giving environment that is conducive for these boys and girls for playing their best.
“If they have to be worried about whether they will be invited to a league, if they will have a fair chance at playing, that is not conducive. I will say that we can do better, we must do better. We must set aside our differences, we must acknowledge that for volleyball to truly improve we must work together. We need as many leagues as possible, we must get as many players from the provinces, we must raise funds because that is the way to go,” added Cayetano.
“Kung sa sipag at determinasyon, hindi kulang ang players natin. It’s crucial for us, whether in the government or in the private sector, to provide that environment for the to excel. Para at least we can go back to the time na masasabi natin na we’re at the top of ASEAN, ‘yun muna. So when we get to higher level of competition, we have something to aspire for,” she added.
“It will not happen overnight. It will not happen kung kagalit natin itong mga liga. It will not happen if the officials do not work together. It will not happen. I will be wasting my precious time if we call a hearing and we explain and explain and explain when the bottomline is we have to set aside our differences and work together.”
Cayetano believes that the players and officials owe it to the fans to be united in bringing the Philippines back to volleyball glory.
“Let’s look at the bigger picture, you owe to the fans and everyone out there who pays and continues to support your playing careers that we give them more reasons to give support and spare them of all the agony of this drama. I genuinely hope that this is a step forward.”