Press Release
September 14, 2023

Bong Go pushes for increased budget for sports to enhance grassroots sports development, improve facilities, and further support athletes

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Sports, underscored during a budget hearing on Tuesday, September 12, the critical role of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in promoting sports as a key factor in national development.

He emphasized the necessity of adequate funding for both grassroots sports development and the country's participation in international competitions.

"Noong nakaraan ay ipinaglaban natin sa deliberasyon ng ating 2023 budget ang karagdagang pondo para sa PSC. Sa katunayan, ang budget lang sana ng PSC ngayong taon ay nasa humigit-kumulang PhP200 million lamang. Tayo ang nagsulong ng dagdag sa pondo nila kaya nabigyan pa ito ng PhP1 billion, kasama na ang dagdag pondo sa pagdaraos ng FIBA 2023, budget para sa grassroots sports programs, at suporta sa mga lalahok sa iba pang international competitions," he cited earlier.

Go, in his opening statement, expressed his strong belief that sports can serve as a deterrent for the youth against engaging in illegal drugs and other harmful activities. He also mentioned that sports can be a way to continue the campaign against illegal drugs initiated by former president Rodrigo Duterte.

"Sabi ko nga, get into sports, stay away from illegal drugs to keep us healthy and fit. At isa rin po ito sa paraan na ilayo natin ang mga kabataan sa iligal na droga. Isang paraan ito na maipagpatuloy ang kampanya ni dating pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na labanan ang iligal na droga dahil kapag bumalik po ang iligal na droga, babalik po ang kriminalidad, babalik po ang korapsyon sa gobyerno," Go said.

The senator also highlighted the recent achievements of the Philippines in the international sports community, including the successful hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup. He praised the event organizers and shared his experience participating in a dry-run before the opening, emphasizing that "'pag nandyan po ang disiplina, kaya natin, gugustuhin natin na maging well-organized po tayo."

Go likewise underscored the international attention that the Philippines has garnered through its successful hosting of sports events, particularly the FIBA World Cup.

"Malaking tulong po iyon sa pag-promote po ng kagandahan ng ating bansa. For 17 days, nakatutok po sa ating bayan ang buong mundo dahil napakaganda po ng ating bansa," he said.

The senator then expressed his pride in Gilas Pilipinas for earning a spot in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

"Alam ko po na ibinigay ninyo ang lahat, ginawa ninyo po ang lahat para lumaban. Puso po ang ginamit ninyo at 'never say die' ang attitude ng ating Gilas Pilipinas," he said.

Go also took the opportunity to commend the country's performance in the Southeast Asian Games. He then extended his well wishes for the upcoming Asian Games scheduled from September 25 to October 8.

However, the senator also hinted at areas for improvement, suggesting that while the country has had successes, there is still work to be done.

"Though mayroon mang dapat ayusin, may panahon pa kayong ayusin ang mga ito," Go added while stressing the importance of supporting both grassroots and elite sports development.

"For this year's budget, with the support of our Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Senator Sonny Angara, we allocated funding for PSC's grassroots program and the preparation, training and participation of our national athletes in international sports competitions," he revealed.

The PSC proposed a budget of P3.3 billion for 2024, but the DBM only approved P210 million. This is a reduction of more than 93 percent from the agency's proposal.

Go also touched on the need for proper training facilities for athletes. He mentioned the need for repairs at the Philippine Institute of Sports Multi-Purpose Arena (PhilSports Arena) and comfortable barracks for athletes.

"Mahalaga na magkaroon ng tama at sapat na training ang ating mga manlalaro. Kaya naman gusto ko ring pagtuunan ng pansin na mayroon tayong sports facilities na maaaring maging training center ng ating mga atleta," he said.

"Ako po'y saksi mismo, napasyalan ko ang inyong matagal ng pasilidad, itong Phil Sports, nakapaglaro na kami doon, medyo tumutulo na rin ang gym. Kailangan na sigurong magkaroon ng repair, at yung mga barracks ng atleta, dapat komportable, dahil iba talaga kapag suportado sila, mula pagkain, yung kanilang tirahan at bago sila sumabak sa competition, dapat kumbaga lahat ng laban naman ay dapat alagang-alaga po ang ating mga atleta," he shared.

Go noticed that the facilities that were presented during the hearing are in bad condition and that they really need to be improved. He urged the government to allocate funds for the construction of comfortable housing for the athletes, instead of spending on flood control projects in areas where there are no people.

"Napapansin ko ang mga pasilidad na pinakita kanina. Talagang kailangan po, the more we should invest sa mga sports facilities natin na sira," he added.

"Bigyan naman natin ng maayos at komportable na tirahan ang ating mga atleta. Nananawagan ako sa DPWH, instead of flood control projects sa mga lugar na walang tao, dito na lang sa ating mga atleta na kailangan nila ng komportableng tirahan man lang. Baka pwede ninyo mapaglaanan ng pondo," said Go.

Meanwhile, he also discussed the National Academy of Sports (NAS) at New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, established under Republic Act No. 11470 that he authored and co-sponsored, which allows students to train while getting quality secondary education.

The law provided for the establishment of the NAS System and Main Campus. The NAS also offers a secondary education program with an integrated special curriculum on sports which was developed in close coordination with PSC and the Department of Education.

"Pwede silang mag-training, at the same time, mag-aral. Pwede silang mag-aral, at the same time, mag-training. Wala pong masasakripisyo. 'Yan po ang National Academy of Sports, batas na po at may sariling pasilidad," he said.

The senator then called on the PSC to maximize the facilities at New Clark City, initially used for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. He also reiterated his support for the establishment of the Philippine Sports Training Center and asked for updates on its status.

Go urged his colleagues to fight for sufficient budget for PSC's programs to ensure continuous sports development in the country.

"Kaya naman po hinihimok ko ang ating mga kasamahan na suportahan ang budget ng Philippine Sports Commission at GAB para tuluy-tuloy lang po ang sports development sa ating bansa," concluded Go.

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