Senator Christopher ‘’Bong’’ Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, has reiterated his appeal for the government to continue its extensive support for Filipino athletes.
Go made the appeal when he sponsored the proposed 2023 budgets of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) on the Senate floor.
He stressed the importance of having adequate funding to support necessary sports programs especially in the grassroots that would hone the skills and boost the confidence of Filipino athletes, especially in international competitions.
In particular, the proposed budget of PSC for 2023 was increased by P1 billion to include preparations, training and participation of the country’s athletes in the upcoming Paris olympics, Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Para-games, and other international competitions.
Also included are additional support for the hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup, sports infrastructure development, financial assistance to athletes and grassroots sports development initiatives such as the Philippine National Games which Go plans to institutionalize once legislated into law.
The senator from Davao then highlighted two of the PSC’s flagship programs under the National Sports Development Plan — the Duyan ng Magiting (Grassroots Program) and the Gintong Laban (Elite Program).
Duyan ng Magiting is a combination of national competition projects and sports-for-all activities. Under this program, the local government units and families of the athletes play a crucial role and serve as support system to achieve its objectives.
Gintong Laban, on the other hand, is the apex of the National Sports Development Plan and focuses on high-performance sports development of national athletes though the following provisions: training allowance, performance incentives, uniforms and equipment, medical services, and financial assistance, among others.
To ensure that sports facilities are fully utilized and maintained properly, Go said that PSC Chairman Jose Emmanuel “Noli” Eala and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President Aileen Zosa were able to come up with an agreement on the management of sports facilities in New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, Tarlac.
Go, who is also vice chairman of the Senate Fiinance Committee, highlighted the need to further secure more funds for the National Academy of Sports (NAS) in the New Clark City Sports Complex, citing that it would significantly benefit more aspiring athletes.
As part of his vision to provide a dedicated academy for promising young athletes, Go authored and co-sponsored Republic Act (RA) No. 11470, establishing the NAS.
A government-run learning facility, the NAS offers a secondary education program with an integrated special curriculum on sports which was developed in close coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd) and PSC.
Go reminded PSC to further strengthen its sports programs and to ensure that the approved budget would be efficiently and strictly utilized in accordance with its mandates and the law to make certain that Filipino athletes receive the necessary support they deserve.
As he continues to champion the interest and welfare of Filipino athletes, Go also filed Senate Bill 423, known as the Philippine National Games (PNG) Act of 2022.
The proposed measure aims to provide a structure for a more comprehensive national sports program, linking grassroots sports promotion to national sports development.
It also seeks to ensure a more inclusive system of honing promising and potential Filipino athletes in various fields of sport, giving them an equal opportunity of becoming future contenders in international sporting competitions to cement the country’s status as a “Sports Powerhouse in Asia”.