Philippine Women’s National Football Team cited as an inspiration to women, athletes, and the entire nation
Mr. President, I rise to sponsor Senate Resolution Nos. 88 and 89, which I filed last August 2022. So you are almost one year late in having the Senate give you honor, but better late than never.
Both resolutions commend and congratulate the Philippine Women’s National Football Team, also known as the “Filipinas” for their achievements.
Making Philippine sports “herstory” by winning in two major football tournaments with historic results. And I don’t even know if this is up to date when I say two because this is based on the resolution as I said that I filed last year.
So as the Majority Floor Leader has read into the record, we have members of the Filipinas team present, and we have also present the men and women who have been supporting this team, the team led by Philippine Football Federation (PFF) President Nonong Araneta and Atty Edwin Gastanes, and of course their team manager, Jefferson Cheng.
On that note, Mr. President, let me just include some of the highlights of their career. The Filipinas qualified for the 2023 Women’s FIFA World Cup. This is a first in Philippine history, both in the men’s and women’s teams. Often, Mr. President, we need to correct reports because many times, and I am not just talking about women’s football, but many times, there will be announcements even internationally, not just locally, about achievements of certain male football players. And of course, they have achieved many things as well. But then they forget to take into consideration that many times, the women have already achieved that. Usually, late in recognizing that these women have achieved these milestones, mapapansin lang after mabanggit that the men have achieved this.
So, women athletes are used to that, but I commend our team and the men and women who support them, precisely because they have dreamt their dreams and have now made it part of our history that we have qualified for the FIFA World Cup.
So in the qualifying match, they won against Chinese-Taipei in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup quarterfinals in India. And this is the first time, as I said, that any Philippine football team has secured a spot in this prestigious football tournament. They entered the semi-finals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup for the first time ever.
As of March 24, 2023, FIFA reported that the Philippines earned their highest standing to date, ranked 49th in women’s football in the whole world. Ranked 49. Saan kayo nanggaling two years ago, out of curiosity? 76. So 76. Nung bata ka pa, Nonong…no ranking yet. So we are now ranked 49.
They won the Philippines’ first ever championship title at the Women’s Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championships. This is the one that was held here, which I watched. In July 2022, the Filipinas were crowned as the AFF Women’s Champions following their victory against Thailand. First time ever, the Philippine football team, either men’s or women’s, has won a title under the AFF banner. They beat then defending champion title holders, Vietnam, during their semi-finals match.
So in preparation for the 2023 FIFA World Cup that will be held in Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to August 20, wherein the Philippines will compete in New Zealand, the Filipinas have been conducting training camps led by their head Coach Alen Stajcic. As the FIFA Women’s World Cup comes closer, the Filipinas have been training hard and are joining prestigious football tournaments. My understanding, your honors, is that most of the members of the team are members of their own teams in their different clubs. So in between tournaments where they played together, they go back home and compete with their team, which serves as their continuous training.
So, from September to November 2022, the Filipinas joined various international friendlies with teams such as New Zealand, Costa Rica, Chile, and Papua New Guinea. In February 2023, the women’s team also debuted in their maiden Pinatar Cup in Spain, where they gained tremendous experience playing against teams from Iceland, Wales, and Scotland. And I had the pleasure of joining them there as their head of delegation.
In April 2023, the team battled it out for the Paris 2024 Olympic qualifying tournament versus Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Hong Kong, where they were able to progress to the second round.
Their participation in many international friendlies with other teams has yielded favorable and promising results. Sacrificing their time and effort, away from their families and loved ones, to prepare for the World Cup is something that is not a stranger to any member of this team and any of their supporting crew.
They have, and they continue to endure long training hours that we can only imagine. Mr. President, the Filipinas and other female athletes have served as an inspiration for the country. They have achieved what would have been considered impossible only a few years ago. This is an accomplishment not just for Philippine sports, but for Philippine women and for Philippine athletes. Hard work, dedication, and passion for your sport are the building blocks for reaching goals, dreams, and successes.
Many of these athletes, if not all, have started very young. They have been able to harness their passion into a craft. They have the discipline and what it takes to work together as a team to accomplish their goals. They bring pride and honor to the country and inspire athletes not just in the country, but worldwide.
Congratulations to the Filipinas! Thank you, Mr. President.#