Support for Filipino cyber athletes urged

MANILA — After a young Filipino team placed eight and bagged Php 40-million prize in a prestigious E-sports event in Seattle, USA, a Senator on Thursday encouraged the government to support Filipino cyber athletes, noting that it was a chance for them to excel in the international arena.

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, made this call as he welcomed the inclusion of E-sports in the Asian Games.

Aquino, a supporter of the local E-sports and video game development industry, said that the inclusion of E-sports in the Asian Games allows Filipino E-sports talents to be recognized as “legitimate athletes.”

He further said that this would make them entitled to financial and other forms of support from the government, like traditional athletes who compete in international events.

He also pointed out that the inclusion would eventually correct the public’s negative perception about E-sports, especially if they properly managed and given guidance by the government.

“The inclusion of E-sports in the prestigious Asian Games will give Filipino E-sports athletes opportunity to showcase their talent and bring honor to the Philippines,” Aquino said.

“…We expect the government to fully support our Filipino cyber athletes as they hone their skills through training and participation in local and international events,” he added.

He noted that the industry also had the potential to create fresh employment opportunities for Filipinos.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) announced that E-sports will be a demonstration sport at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia. In 2022, E-sports will be an official medal event at the 2022 Hangzhou Games.

At present, it is the Philippine E-sports Association (PeSPA) operating to strengthen the foundation of E-sports in the country. Aquino was selected as PeSPA’s honorary chairman.

The association was established to look after the welfare of cyber athletes and stakeholders and the promotion of E-sports in the country.