Addressing the nation, particularly the government agencies involved in the preparation and management of the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Senator Bong Go called on Filipinos to uphold the bayanihan spirit amid issues facing the country’s hosting of the sporting event.
“Maraming gustong pumalakpak, nakakalungkot sa panahong ito na ilang kababayan natin na pumapalakpak sa maling rason. Pumapalakpak dahil gusto nila tayong pumalpak. Ang kailangan nating palakpakan ang mga atleta to cheer them up and support them,” Go said.
“Sanay na tayo sa bayanihan, magtulungan na lang tayo at alalayan natin,” the legislator emphasized.
In various media interviews, the lawmaker, who is also chair of the Committee on Sports in the Senate, said that he and President Rodrigo Duterte are constantly monitoring the issues raised in the first few days of the biennial regional multi-sport event.
“Ang Pangulo, very concerned lalo na sa ngalan ng ating bansa. Kami ni Pangulo, nakatutok kami dito (sa SEA games issue),” the senator said.
He urged all government agencies to work double time and reminded everyone that they will be answerable to not only the President but most especially to the Filipino people.
“In fairness kay Speaker Cayetano, talagang nagdo-double time naman sila ngayon. Talagang ginagawa nila ang lahat at para maayos ito, nagre-report siya. Wala nang mangyayari kung magsisihan pa tayo,” Go said.
“It is normal to have hiccups when hosting events.”
Go, who also advocates for the development of the country’s grassroots and long-term sports program, said that it is normal to have hiccups when hosting events. However, he emphasized that instead of pointing fingers. Go urged Filipinos to unite and cooperate for the events to become a success.
“Normal na may mga maging problema pero imbes na magsisihan, magtulungan nalang po tayo. (Four) days to go before opening. Ano magagawa ng sisihan ngayon?,” he said.
“Sa dami-dami nating naririnig na reklamo, magtulungan na lang tayo; may panahon d’yan,” Go added.
“The whole Southeast Asia has its eyes on the country.”
He urged everyone to help in ensuring the success of the country’s hosting, adding that the whole Southeast Asia has its eyes on the country. Go further said that Filipinos should set aside political differences and participate in rallying support for the country’s competing athletes.
“Tulungan nalang po tayo. Sanay tayo sa bayanihan. Ceasefire muna tayo, ‘wag mag-away ang mga opisyales. Nakatutok lahat sa atin. Huwag natin hayaang pumalpak ito. Lahat tayo ay hosts dito,” he said.
Instead of spreading negativity, Go asked the public to consider the impact of these news to the morale of the athletes who should be focused on their respective competitions.
“Isipin rin natin morale ng athletes. Hindi na dapat nila problemahin ‘yang issues para maka-focus sila sa kanilang competitions,” he said.
“Nakataya rito ang pangalan ng Pilipinas at huwag nating hayaang pumalpak ito dahil sinabi ko noon, karangalan ng ating atleta nakasalalay sa darating na Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. Ang reputasyon at pangalan ng ating bansa ang nakataya rito,” Go added.
He said that the President, who will attend the formal opening of the Games on November 30, fully supports the event and the national athletes, saying that aside from the usual incentives an athlete receives when they get a medal finish, the President may also consider providing additional separate incentives.
“Knowing the President, full support po siya sa mga atleta natin. Kung ano man po maitutulong to motivate them, ibibigay po natin,” Go said.
Highlighting the world-famous Filipino hospitality, Go added that he and the President have always taken good care of their guests.
“President Duterte is a very good host and Filipinos are known for our hospitality,” he said. “Sa 21 years ko kay Presidente, sa Davao, lahat inaalagaan ang bisita. Nakakain na ba? Kumot at matutulugan, ok ba… si Pangulo concerned dyan,” Go said, explaining how the President values how guests should be treated.
He also addressed allegations that issues in the SEA Games preparation are due to delays in the current year’s budget. Go asserted that the reason why Senate and the House of Representatives are working hard to pass the budget for next year is in order to avoid another reenacted budget that would lead to delays in the provision of basic services.
“Kaya andito na tayo. Ngayon iniiwasan natin ang reenacted budget para maiwasan maulit iyan. All services affected pag nadelay ang budget,” he asserted.