As Filipino athletes prepare to compete in five major international competitions this year — four regional and one world — Senator Christopher “Bong” Go expressed his best wishes for them as he pledged his support for their preparation and participation in these events.
“Hangad ko po ang tagumpay ng lahat ng mga Filipino athletes sa mga gaganaping mahahalagang international competition ngayong taon,” said Go.
“May tiwala po ako sa kakayahan ng atletang Pilipino kaya naman po wala po akong duda na maraming karangalan na naman po ang maiuuwi nila sa ating bansa ngayong taon,” he added.
As chair of the Senate Committee on Sports and vice chair of the Committee on Finance, Go sponsored funding in the 2023 budget for the preparation and participation of athletes in international competitions.
Major international competitions that will feature Filipino athletes include the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia from 5 to 17 May; the World Beach Games in Bali, Indonesia from 5 to 12 August; the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China from 23 September to 8 October; the World Combat Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 21 to 30 October; and the 6th Asian Indoor and Martial Art Games in Bangkok and Chonburi, Thailand from 17 to 26 November.
Forty-nine sports are on the schedule for the Cambodia SEA Games, 14 for the World Beach Games, 37 for the Asian Games in Hangzhou, 15 for the World Combat Games, and 32 for the AIMAG.
Recognizing the athletes’ dedication, Go reassured them he will remain steadfast in advocating for their well-being and interest. The senator also remarked that he will always be proud of the Filipino athletes regardless of the results of the competitions, adding that their perseverance and efforts are already laudable.
“We are truly grateful for your sacrifice and commitment. Maraming salamat sa pagpapakita ng inyong angking galing sa larangan ng sports,” he stressed.
The senator asserted that Filipino athletes can further succeed with adequate government assistance, just as they did at the 2019 SEA Games held in the country, where Team Philippines won the most medals, and at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where the Philippines won its first-ever Olympic gold medal.
A sports enthusiast, Go has been consistently supporting Filipino athletes who are competing in international competitions. Following a request from the Philippine Sports Commission coursed through Go, the Office of the President previously approved the additional allowance to athletes who competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in Japan.
Go also successfully appealed to the government to include in the priority list for COVID-19 vaccination the Filipino athletes and other delegates competing or participating in the Olympics.
Go has also pushed for the allocation of sufficient funding for the preparation, training, and participation of Filipino athletes in the 2022 Southeast Asian Games and other international competitions.
At the height of the pandemic, Go urged concerned agencies to help athletes whose training and livelihood had been hampered by the restrictions. This led to the provision of financial assistance and other forms of aid to athletes in various parts of the country.
Go also authored and co-sponsored the measure that became Republic Act No. 11470. The law, which former president Rodrigo Duterte signed in June 2020, provides for the establishment of the National Academy of Sports at the New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, Tarlac.
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 and Philippine Sports Commission.
The academy is equipped with world-class sports facilities, housing, and other amenities on par with international standards. Sufficient number of classrooms and other facilities have also been built at the complex to provide a conducive learning environment for all the students.
To ensure the international competitiveness of the student-athletes, the academy likewise provides the services of licensed and internationally-certified foreign coaches, trainers, and consultants duly certified by the PSC.
According to Go, aside from honing the skills of budding Filipino athletes, sports will help them stay away from illegal drugs and criminality.
As one of his priority measures in the 19th Congress, Go also filed Senate Bill No. 423, or the proposed Philippine National Games Act of 2022, to provide a structure for a more comprehensive national sports program, linking grassroots sports promotion to national sports development.