Senator Bong Go recognized athletes, coaches, and sports officials for their contributions to Philippine sports and their crucial roles in representing the nation on the international stage, during the send-off ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City, for Filipino participants in the 19th Asian Games and 4th Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, China.

“Today, we gather here not only to celebrate the excellence of our athletes but also to bid them the best of luck as they embark on a journey to represent our great nation at the 19th Asian Games and 4th Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, China,” Go said.

The legislator took the opportunity to shed light on his proposed Senate Bill No. 2116, which aims to amend Republic Act No. 10699, also known as the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.

“This bill which I authored carries the potential to bring about positive change in the lives of our athletes, particularly our para-athletes,” the lawmaker said.

The senator emphasized the need to increase the incentives for para-athletes, stating, “Sana po’y ma-increase naman rin po ang kanilang incentives na natatanggap dahil ‘yung honor po na dala nila sa ating bayan, pareho naman po ‘yong gold, silver, bronze at pinaghirapan rin po nila.”

The proposed measures seek to upgrade the incentives for para-athletes. This bill intends to provide equal opportunities and recognition to all athletes, thereby promoting inclusivity and diversity in sports.

“The heart of this legislation is inclusivity and equality. It aims to elevate or increase the incentives for our para-athletes.”

“The heart of this legislation is inclusivity and equality. It aims to elevate or increase the incentives for our para-athletes,” he mentioned.

Go, vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, said he continues to advocate for additional budget for sports programs under the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

“During the budget deliberation last year, ang ipinasa po na budget ng PSC more or less about P200 million. Ako po mismo sa Senado bilang inyong chairman po ng Committee on Sports and as vice chair ng Committee on Finance, isinulong ko talaga na madagdagan po ng P1 billion po ang pondo ng Philippine Sports Commission,” he said.

Go revealed that during the budget deliberations last year, he sponsored and successfully secured financial support for athletes participating in international competitions such as the 2023 Southeast Asian Games, which took place in Cambodia, and the forthcoming Asian Games in China.

He also disclosed the allocation of P50 million through the PSC for the Asian Games, along with P30 million specifically for Asian para-games.

Go also highlighted the importance of collaboration between the government and the private sector in achieving sports excellence.

“‘Pag nagsama ang gobyerno at pribadong sektor, walang imposible,” he said.

Meanwhile, in his speech, Go also touched on the state of sports facilities in the country, emphasizing the need for comfortable training grounds for athletes.

“Ako, sa abot ng aking makakaya ay tutulong po ako sa ating mga sports program ng ating bansa,” he assured.

In line with his focus on grassroots sports development, Go also spoke about the National Academy of Sports (NAS), a fully operational institution located in New Clark City in Tarlac.

“Ngayon po pwede na pong mag-aral at the same time mag-training, training at the same time mag-aral diyan po sa National Academy of Sports,” he said.

This initiative aims to ensure that athletes do not have to sacrifice their education for their sports careers. Former president Rodrigo Duterte signed RA 11470 in June 2020, which provides for the establishment of the NAS System and its main campus. Go was an author and co-sponsor of the measure.

He is also prioritizing the institutionalization of the Philippine National Games (PNG) as a platform to scout and recruit athletes for the national pool.

Go filed SBN 423, or the proposed PNG Act, which seeks to create a nationwide platform for athletes, particularly the youth, to display their abilities.

During the ambush interview, he also emphasized the importance of grassroots programs in encouraging youth to engage in sports and lead a healthy lifestyle.

“Grassroots program, it’s one way na ma-e-engganyo natin ang ating mga kabataan to get into sports, stay away from drugs, and to keep us healthy and fit,” Go said.

“Pangalagaan po natin ang kalusugan ng bawat isa. Katumbas ng kalusugan ay buhay ng bawat Pilipino.”

He further elaborated on the connection between sports and health, saying, “Malaking bagay na fit tayo. Ang importante rin sa akin bilang chairman ng Senate Committee on Health, dalawa po ‘yan. Importante sa akin ang sports at health. Magka-connect ang dalawang ito dahil para sa akin, kapag fit ka, healthy ka. Pangalagaan po natin ang kalusugan ng bawat isa. Katumbas ng kalusugan ay buhay ng bawat Pilipino.”

Towards the end of his speech, Go expressed his gratitude to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for his unwavering support for Filipino athletes.

“Salamat po mga athletes. And of course, gusto ko rin pong pasalamatan ang suporta po sa atin ng ating mahal na Pangulong Bongbong Marcos sa suporta niya sa SEA Games, sa Asian Games, at sa lahat pa po ng future competition,” he said.

Go likewise extended his thanks to PSC Chairman Dickie Bachmann, Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham Tolentino, and the Philippine Paralympic Committee President Michael Barredo for their ongoing support and contribution to the athletic community.

He likewise thanked the athletes, para-athletes, and coaches for their dedication and sacrifices in training.

“Athletes, para-athletes, coaches salamat po sa inyong lahat, sa inyong sakripisyo sa pagte-training. Alam kong ito na po ‘yung panahon na inaantay natin,” Go said.

As the athletes prepared for their journey to Hangzhou, China, he assured them of his full support.

“To our athletes, I know that we stand with you every step of the way. We believe in your potential, and we are confident that you will make our country proud on the international stage,” he concluded.

The upcoming Asian Games will be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8.

The event was originally scheduled for 2022 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.



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