Bong Go pledges full support for grassroots sports development

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On Friday, June 17, Senate Committee on Sports Chair Christopher “Bong” Go attended the groundbreaking of the Philippine Sports Training Center (PSTC) in Bagac, Bataan with President Rodrigo Duterte who was the guest of honor and speaker of the event.

In his speech, Duterte commended everyone involved in the project which will become the future home and one of the primary venues for development of the nation’s athletes.

“Once completed, the state-of-the-art and highly scientific sports complex will be instrumental not only in the honing of the skills and talents of our athletes, coaches and referees but also boosting their morale as they compete locally and hopefully, globally,” said the President.

Duterte also said that he is hoping for the succeeding administration to continue and support the project, as well as pursue similar initiatives that would benefit athletes in the years to come.

Signed by President Duterte in February 2019, the creation of the PSTC was provided under Republic Act 11214 or the Philippine Sports Training Center Act. The PSTC aims to promote sports in the country, achieve excellence in international sports, and promote international goodwill among nations. The PSTC shall cater to athletes in various sports, including swimming, basketball and volleyball, among others.

As Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go has also earlier pushed for funding for the site development and preparation of the Master Development Plan of the Philippine Sports Training Center. It is targeted to be completed by 2024.

The total project cost is PhP3.7 billion, of which PhP125 million is for the Site Development Plan, PhP75 million is for the Master Development Plan, and PhP3.5 billion is for the establishment and construction of the PSTC. Said funds will be sourced from the General Appropriations Act.

The Bataan Provincial Government has donated 250,000 square meters of land in Bagac, Bataan for the establishment of the PSTC. Go personally attended the presentation and signing of the Deed of Donation for the land on May 18, 2021, wherein he assured his continuing support for the sports facility, saying, “Ako naman po sa Senado, bilang Committee Chair on Sports, asahan n’yo po ang aking suporta. Bilisan na po natin. Alam n’yo po, ‘pag nagtutulungan ang ating mga atleta at ating gobyerno at private sector ay malayo po ang ating mararating.”

Not to be confused with the National Academy of Sports, Go said that both facilities are the government’s gifts to national athletes.

President Duterte signed into law RA 11470 which establishes the National Academy of Sports in June 2020. On June 14, Go also joined Duterte in the inspection of the National Academy of Sports in New Clark City, Capas, Tarlac.

Go authored and co-sponsored the bill that became RA 11470 in 2020. The law provided for the establishment of the NAS System and Main Campus. The NAS also 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 services of licensed and internationally-certified foreign coaches, trainers and consultants, duly certified by the Philippine Sports Commission.

Meanwhile, the senator thanked the local government of Bataan, adding that he will continue to advocate for the rights and welfare of Filipino athletes, particularly in terms of the funding support they need when training for major international events.

Go also expressed support for the country’s grassroots programs and enhancement of sports awareness among Filipinos, saying, “Ilayo po natin ang ating mga kabataan sa droga, lalung-lalo na po ngayon, sa pamamagitan ng pag-enganyo sa kanila sa sports.”

President Duterte himself has appealed to the next administration to continue the campaign against illegal drugs, noting, “‘Yung iniwan kong momentum sana sa droga, I’m very happy… But please, support any endeavor that would kill the industry of drugs in this country.”

To end, Go assured his and Duterte’s continuing commitment to sports development in the country, saying, “Asahan n’yo po ang aming suporta ni Pangulong Duterte. Nandito lang po kami, tutulong sa inyo.”

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