During the first hearing of the Senate Committee on Sports, Wednesday, August 7, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed his fullest support to the upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian Games to be held in the Philippines this November to December.
As the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Sports, he said that the event is a huge opportunity, not just to showcase the skills and talents of Filipino athletes, but also to show to the world how far Filipinos have come in terms of progress and development.
“Magkaisa po tayo para sa ikabubuti ng ating mga atleta at para sa tagumpay ng buong Pilipinas. Gawin natin ang lahat ng ating makakaya para masuportahan ang Philippine team pero siguraduhin natin na magagawa natin ito sa tamang paraan. Let’s Go for Gold, support our athletes and make sure no government funds will go to waste,” he said.
Readiness of the facilities to be utilized during the Games was highlighted during the said hearing as Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President Vince Dizon presented the overview of the New Clark City, one of the main venues of the Games.
According to Dizon, construction of New Clark City Phase 1A, scheduled to open on November, was completed ahead of schedule. The 50-hectare sports hub will have an athletic stadium, aquatics center, the athletes village and a river park corridor. The National Sports Training Center and the Philippine Institute for Sports are also being considered to be placed there.
Dizon also said that it was due to the persistence and hard work of Senator Go and Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri, among others, that President Rodrigo Duterte was convinced to push through with the country’s hosting of the SEA Games.
Meanwhile, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairperson Butch Ramirez and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino discussed the roles of each organizing committee, particularly in budget implementation and ensuring that transparency and accountability are in place in the use of funds.
Go also affirmed his commitment in making sure that the organizing committees of the Games are meeting their target tasks and that they remain united towards one goal.
“I have a good relationship with them. Handa po akong pumagitna kung ano man ang hindi pagkakaintindihan. I am here to check,” he said. “We have to show unity in support for our sports program. We must uphold our ‘One Team, One Goal’ motto.”
It can be remembered that Go was the one who rallied the POC, PSC and Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) officials to be united in order to deliver a good performance in hosting the SEA Games.
In his previous meeting with the SEA Games organizers, it was agreed that the various concerned parties would jointly manage the event. PHISGOC will continue with its functions, including raising funds from the private sector. The POC will manage the Games while the PSC will handle the release of government funds.
Through the collaborative hard work, wisdom and perseverance of the government as well as the private sector groups involved, Go likewise expressed his confidence that more Filipino athletes will again start putting the country on top of the world stage.
Furthermore, the Senator affirmed his full commitment to long-term grassroots sports development in the country through the establishment of the National Academy of Sports for High School (NASHS) through his Senate Bill No. 397.
Go said that the proposed academy will be a gift to Filipino athletes and the youth who dream of bringing the country back to its former glory in the world of sports. The NASHS will also serve as the premier training center to develop the athletic skills and talents of high school students. It will be built in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac with a proposed initial funding of P150 million.
Senator Go said that the value of sports has always been underrated, saying that these physical activities carried out under an agreed set of rules actually play an important role in every society.
“Sports will help mold the youth into disciplined, responsible and productive citizens of our country,” he added.
For Senator Go, sports enables the youth to become successful and productive individuals contributing to nation-building every day, thus, he urges his colleagues to support this initiative to turn the Philippines into a sports powerhouse once more, not just in Asia but in the world.
“Naniniwala ako na epektibong paraan ang isports upang mailayo natin ang mga kabataan sa iligal na droga, kriminalidad at katiwalian sa murang edad. Huhubugin din natin ang ating mga kabataan sa isang marangal, malusog at maayos na pamumuhay,” Go said.
Meanwhile, as the adviser of Gilas Pilipinas, Go has given importance to the theme “One Team, One Goal, Go for Goal”. He said that along with the upcoming meeting of President Duterte with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the President also plans to watch the game of Gilas Pilipinas versus Italy during the end of August to boost the morale of the team.
“Ako po ay napili bilang adviser ng Gilas. Kinausap ko po si Presidente. Make or break po ang game natin against Italy. Kapag tayo ay nanalo, mas may chance tayo na makapasok sa next (level). ‘Yung presence po ng pangulo ay makakabuti,” he said.