By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has called on everyone to set aside politics and stop the blame game on the concerns encountered by some foreign athletes as the formal opening of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games draws near.
Go, who chairs the Senate committee on sports, said the country’s reputation is at stake as the host of the SEA Games this year.
The former presidential aide of President Rodrigo Duterte made the appeal after the government was criticized for mishandling the logistical details of participating athletes from four countries—Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, and Thailand—who arrived over the weekend.
He noted that even the country’s own women’s football team has expressed frustration over logistical issues.
“Ang sabi nila dati ay (They said we are) almost ready and complete na ang preparation, venues, and everything that will be used for the games. As of October 30, 2019, PHISGOC (Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee) stated that preparations are 90% complete. Bakit nangyari ang mga ganito? Hindi apology ang kailangan natin ngayon. Hindi ito madadaan sa apology lamang. Ang kailangan ay gisingin lahat. Huwag papatay-patay (But why did this happen? We don’t need an apology right now. Everyone should be alert. Let’s get to work),” Go said in his privilege speech during the Senate 3 p.m. session.
At this, he called on the PHISGOC, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to get their acts together.
“Noong naghahanda tayo for Southeast Asian Games, may kanya-kanyang mandato ang gobyerno. Ang Office of the President, Senate, at Congress, nagbigay ng lahat na kakailanganing pondo at suporta para sa hosting kung kaya walang rason para sabihin na hindi tayo handa (When we were preparing for the SEA Games, the government agencies each had a mandate. The Office of the President, Senate and Congress, all gave the necessary funds and support for the event so there is no reason to say we are not prepared),” Go said.
“At kahit na may iba-ibang responsibilidad na nakatoka sa PHISGOC, sa PSC, at sa POC, hindi ibig sabihin nito na wala na tayong pakialam sa isa’t isa. Huwag tayo magkanya-kanya (So even if different responsibilities have been assigned to PHISGOC, PSC and POC, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t coordinate with each other. Let’s not go in separate directions),” Go added.
“I am, therefore, delivering this privilege speech to urge PSC, POC, PHISGOC and all Filipinos—huwag po nating hayaan na pumalpak ito (let’s not allow this to fail),” the senator stressed.
As chair of the Sports committee and a member of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, Go said he is ready to participate in a possible investigation into the SEA Games fiasco.
“There is a right time for everything. Huwag tayong magturuan ngayon. But after the games, papanagutin natin ang dapat na managot (Let’s not blame each other now. But after the games, we will hold accountable those who should be held accountable),” the lawmaker said.
“Handa po tayo na mag-imbestiga sa mga kapalpakan na mangyayari sa hosting natin sa (We are ready to investigate the lapses that will happen in our hosting of the) SEA Games. Pero sa ngayon, (but for now), let us work as one in order to win as one,” he said.
Go said the government fully supports the country’s hard-working athletes, coaches, and delegates “and all those who have sacrificed much to bring glory to our nation.”
“We are all behind you. The government and all its resources are all behind you. We wish you nothing but the best, and we will cheer hard for every victory, every defeat, every sacrifice made, for the glory of our people. We win as one,” Go said.