Adoption has a number of meanings. When a childless couple goes to an orphanage in search of a child, “adoption” assumes the meaning of legally taking a child and bringing it up as one’s own. When one chooses to “adopt” a practice, it becomes taking it up and making it part of one’s personality and culture.
The Ayala Coop, however, is “adopting” a national athlete, fencer Nathaniel Perez, to develop and nurture him in the corporate world while he is training for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The new advocacy is actually in support of the Ayala Group’s Atletang Ayala program, a pilot program under the conglomerate’s Ayala Center For Excellence in Sports or ACES, which is part of Ayala’s commitment to nation-building by providing holistic support to the country’s emerging athletic Olympic bets.
Ayala believes that sports can inspire and bring together a nation, and it thus tries to find a way through ACES to help the next generation of Filipino athletes achieve their full potential.
‘Helping them in both athletic and post-athletic careers’
“Many of our athletes are already well on the way to becoming internationally competitive in this way. We would like to help support them, by building long-term relationships that will help them become the best they can be in both their athletic and post-athletic careers,” Ayala Corporation Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said in explaining the Group’s advocacy. “We believe that this posture of investing in the long-term development of the individual, as both an athlete and as a person, is an effective and sustainable way to build success in Philippine national sports.”
Ayala has initially adopted eight national athletes – swimmers Jasmine Alkhadi and Xiandi Chua, archers Andrea Robles, Pia Bidaure and Abby Bidaure, karateka Prince Alejo, fencer Noel Jose, and Perez.
Under the Atletang Ayala program, participating Ayala Group companies would offer full-salaried employment opportunities at part-time hours to the selected national athletes while they train for the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou and the 2024 Olympics in Paris. The main objective of the program is to help athletes’ seamless entry into the corporate world after they retire from sports.
Part-time with Coop
In Perez’s case, he will be working with the Coop on a part-time basis for the next two years in preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The two-time silver-medalist in the recent Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, aside from the regular tasks to be given to him, will also join the Coop in its corporate social responsibility activities, according to Coop General Manager Dina Orosa, to share his inspiring life story with the communities the Coop will visit, especially with the schoolchildren in those communities.
The 26-year-old Perez, an aspiring entrepreneur, is actually a business administration graduate of University of the East. He signed a contract with the Coop last June 17 to formally start his engagement. Present at the contract signing were Ms. Orosa, the Coop’s CFO Jenny Cura, and Ayala Land Talent Management Manager Chris Macasaet, who also serves as mentor to Perez.