Senator Bong Go again pushed for the creation of the Philippine High School for Sports (PHSS) during the Senate hearing on Senate Bill (SB) 1086.

Go said that he has always been “very vocal and public about my advocacy of passing this legislative measure, through my filing of SB No. 397 last July,” and urges the Senate to support the measure “for the benefit of our youth, and for the benefit of Philippine sports.”

“Our student-athletes can enjoy a level of training which is at par with the best in the world.” 

The legislator, who has been a staunch supporter of Philippine sports development, said that the proposed bill will provide opportunities for students to both complete high school and excel in their chosen sports in world-class facilities to be built in New Clark City in Tarlac, the venue of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

“With the (establishment) of the PHSS in very close proximity to world-class facilities, our student-athletes can enjoy a level of training which is at par with the best in the world. This type of training and education can catapult our student-athletes to illustrious careers in sports, whether as athletes, coaches, managers, or any other sports-related profession,” the lawmaker said.

The senator also shared that his advocacy is equally shared by President Rodrigo Duterte himself. In his 2019 State of the Nation Address (SONA), the President aired his support for the passage of the bill to establish the nation’s sports academy. He mentioned that he has already worked and consulted with concerned agencies and government departments on the measure.

“In pushing for the passage of this measure, I have closely coordinated with agencies, such as the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and, of course, the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), to ensure that this bill, if passed, shall allow us to hit the ground running,” Go stated. He also said that these agencies share the same enthusiasm and passion to realize the dream that has already been, for others, “30 years too late.”

“Through scholarship grants, we will be able to provide an avenue for them to gain quality education.”

The proposed PHSS will enable student-athletes to be enrolled in a high school where government provides them with full or partial scholarships. A specialized curriculum to be developed by DepEd will also allow the youth to study core subjects, such as mathematics and science, while simultaneously honing their athletic skills.

“It is a reality for some of our gifted young athletes to experience difficulty in accessing quality education. Through scholarship grants, we will be able to provide an avenue for them to gain quality education, while developing their skills and talents in sports through world-class training,” Go highlighted.

In his co-sponsorship speech, Go expressed that he has already supported other sports-related initiatives, such as supporting the country’s national basketball team, Gilas Pilipinas, and 2016 Rio Olympics silver medallist, Hidilyn Diaz.

“Even before I became fortunate enough to be part of this honorable chamber, sports has always had a place very close to my heart,” Go said. “Time and again, I have publicly supported various programs and initiatives for the advancement of Philippine sports; from my all-out support as part of the delegation for Gilas Pilipinas, to finding ways to supplement the training of our very own Hidilyn Diaz, I proudly display my support for Philippine sports.”

He also highlighted how the law emphasizes the need for avenues to promote different aspects of nation-building, citing that the importance of sports and education is especially enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

“The Constitution itself provides that the State shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and development,” Go shared.

According to him, the Constitution also provides that the State should “promote physical education and encourage sports programs league competitions, and amateur sports, including training for international competitions, to foster self-discipline, teamwork, and excellence for the development of a healthy and alert citizenry.”

Meanwhile, Go thanked his colleagues who have supported the initiative, especially Senator Win Gatchalian, who is the sponsor of the bill and the Senate Committee on Basic Education chair.

“The framework is there, and the foundation is laid; all that we must do is to give this bill a chance to come into fruition,” he said.

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