Press Release
December 17, 2023

Bong Go champions youth and sports development at the opening of the 2023 Batang Pinoy and Philippine National Games

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Sports, personally attended the opening ceremonies of the 2023 Batang Pinoy and Philippine National Games (PNG) held at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila City on Sunday, December 17.

The event hosted participants below 18 years old in the Batang Pinoy and 18 years old and above in the PNG. It was also attended by Congresswoman Marissa 'Del Mar' Magsino and Congressman Faustino Michael Dy, among others.

In his speech, Go emphasized the importance of sports in enhancing the well-being of Filipinos. He pointed out that active participation in sports not only fosters physical health but also promotes psychological and social well-being as contributory factors in nation-building.

"Bilang chairperson po ng Senate Committee on Sports, nakatataba ng puso para sa akin ang maging parte ng ating pagtitipon ngayong araw at makita ang sari-saring talento ng ating mga kabataang atleta dito sa pagbubukas ng 2023 Batang Pinoy at Philippine National Games," Go expressed.

"Sa palarong ito, hindi lang pisikal na lakas ang ating masasaksihan mula sa mga atleta kundi pati na rin po ang determinasyon at diwa ng pagkakaisa na bumubuklod sa ating lahat bilang isang bansa," he cited.

Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, linked sports development to his broader advocacy against illegal drugs. He firmly believes that sports can be a powerful tool to steer Filipino youth away from the dangers of illegal drug use.

According to the senator, by providing young people with constructive and engaging activities, sports can offer a positive pathway that diverts them from harmful influences.

"Ayaw ko pong masayang 'yung inumpisahan ni dating pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte na labanan ang iligal na droga. Get into sports, stay away from drugs and to keep us healthy and fit. Kapag tayo po ay fit, healthy po tayo. Kapag tayo po ay healthy, hahaba po ang ating buhay. Pangalagaan po natin ang kalusugan ng bawat isa dahil katumbas po yan ng buhay ng bawat Pilipino," he encouraged.

Go has also been promoting Senate Bill No. 2514, which aims to institutionalize the PNG. This proposed legislation, also authored by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Majority Floor Leader Senator Joel Villanueva, seeks to establish a more structured and sustainable framework for sports development in the Philippines. It envisions creating opportunities for athletes at all levels, from grassroots to elite, ensuring that talent is nurtured and supported throughout the country.

This bill envisions an integrated and inclusive sports program, highlighting the inclusion of para-athletes and the commitment to hold biennial Games for wide-ranging participation.

Moreover, Go also expressed plans to institutionalize and legislate the Batang Pinoy program to further strengthen grassroots sports development.

"The theme "Sibol: Rise of New Athletes" could not be more fitting as these games aim to create a more inclusive system that promotes promising Filipino athletes, given them equal opportunity to become future contenders in international sporting events and contribute to cementing the country's status as a sports powerhouse in Asia. Alam n'yo po mga kabataan kayo po ang kinabukasan ng bayang ito at malayo po ang inyong mararating. Ang importante d'yan disiplina po," said Go.

In line with his continued efforts to bolster the country's sports sector, Go successfully pushed for an additional budget for the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to support the preparation, training, and participation of Filipino athletes in upcoming sports competitions and to implement effective programs to hone the skills of more young and aspiring athletes.

"As vice chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, I just want to share that in our budget for 2024, we continue to champion additional budget for the PSC kasama na diyan ang budget para sa PNG at Batang Pinoy," Go mentioned.

"P174 million po ang naaprubahan na budget. Dinagdagan po natin sa Senado na magkaroon ng P500 million at kasama na po diyan 'yung Batang Pinoy at PNG at kasama na diyan yung repair din po ng Rizal Memorial Coliseum dahil kawawa po ang ating mga atleta, minsan may tulo pa 'yung kanilang dormitoryo at ang kanilang coliseum po ay sira-sira. So dapat po ay suportahan natin ang ating mga atleta," he continued.

In conclusion, Go highlighted that the 2023 Batang Pinoy and PNG served as a platform for him to reinforce the critical role of sports in national development, adding that his advocacy underscores the government's recognition of sports as a vital component of a healthy and progressive society.

"Kaya mga anak, mga atleta, pasko ngayon. Tandaan po natin 'wag po nating kalimutang pasalamatan at 'wag nyo pong kalimutang mahalin ang ating mga magulang dahil wala po tayo sa mundong ito kung hindi po dahil sa ating mga magulang," Go reminded.

"To all the athletes, sa bawat tagumpay ng isang atleta, isang komunidad ang magbubunyi. Ito ang diwa ng tunay na Pilipino, ang magtulungan at mag-angat sa isat isa. Importante po yun, magmalasakit at magtulungan po tayo sa ating kapwa Pilipino," he concluded.

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