Senator Bam Aquino welcomed the inclusion of esports in the Asian Games, saying it will provide Filipinos another venue to showcase their skills and excel in the international stage as they compete for the country’s flag and honor.
“The inclusion of esports in the prestigious Asian Games will give Filipino esports athletes the opportunity to showcase their talent and bring honor to the Philippines,” said Aquino, an ardent supporter of local esports and video game development industry in the country.
With the addition of esports in the Asian Games, the lawmaker said that Filipino esports talents will now be recognized as legitimate athletes and entitled to financial and other forms of support from the government, like traditional athletes who compete in international events.
“With this development, 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,” said the lawmaker, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.
“Also, the inclusion will eventually correct the public’s negative perception about esports, especially if they are properly managed and given guidance by the government,” he added.
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) announced that esports will be a demonstration sport at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia. In 2022, esports will be an official medal event at the 2022 Hangzhou Games.
With Aquino’s help, the Philippine esports Association (PeSPA) was formed to strengthen the foundation of esports in the country. Also, it was established to look after the welfare of cyber athletes and stakeholders and the promotion of esports in the country. The youthful Senator was also selected as PeSPA’s honorary chairman.
Aquino has been supporting Filipino esports athletes, who have excelled in previous international events, including the prestigious International DOTA 2 Championship event in Seattle where Filipino squad TNC finished eighth.
He also supports the video game development industry in the Philippines because of its potential to create fresh employment opportunities for Filipinos.