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Senate tackles 2021 proposed budgets of PSC and GAB; Bong Go urges concerned agencies to ensure welfare of athletes amid COVID-19 pandemic

October 07, 2020 - Wednesday 6:10 PM by MDM

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The Senate Subcommittee on Finance chaired by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go tackled and approved in the committee level the proposed 2021 budgets of the Philippine Sports Commission and the Games and Amusements Board on Tuesday, October 6. 

As the Vice Chair of the Committee on Finance and Chair of the Committee on Sports, Go expressed his support for the budgets of the two agencies. He, however, reminded them to ensure that the people’s money is put to good use, wisely spent and used solely for the intended purpose.

“Hindi man prayoridad ang sports activities sa ngayon, priority pa rin natin ang mga atleta at kapakanan nila. Dapat matanggap nila ang allowances nila on time, lalo na ngayong pandemya. Parati ko po itong sinusubaybayan tuwing may nababalitaan po akong nagkakaroon ng delays sa kanilang mga natatanggap na allowances,” Go said in his opening statement. 

“Bukas po ang aking opisina para tumulong at mag-follow up po kaagad para sa ating mga atleta, ‘wag po natin silang pabayaan. Halos lahat po ng sports activities ay na-apektuhan ng COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

The PSC, for its part, assured that they continued to give the allowance of athletes and coaches despite the “no training, no allowance” policy.

In addition, the PSC said that they were able to help athletes during the pandemic by providing housing and food assistance to some national team members who were stranded in Metro Manila. They also continued to monitor the health status of athletes through online medical consultations and psychological sessions.

Go also advised PSC and GAB to always consider the necessary health and safety protocols in deciding on the resumption of some sports activities.

“Mag-coordinate po kayo sa DOH at IATF. And, in fact, ako po mismo ay nilalapitan din po ng mga iba’t ibang associations. Halimbawa, ang Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), nagpatulong po sila na makapag-resume sila ng kanilang paglalaro. Masaya po ako at pumasa po sila sa health protocols na ipinapatupad ng IATF at makakaumpisa na po itong PBA sa Clark ngayong October 11,” Go said.

Go also congratulated the PSC for the successful hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in the country last year where Team Philippines emerged as the overall champion. 

“Our players were in high morale because of evident government support,” Go said.

“Nakaka-proud po, nakakataba ng puso ‘yung nangyari noong nakaraang taon... ‘yung ating success po sa Southeast Asian Games kung saan tayo ang nanalo at nag-top,” he added.

Go also emphasized that the promotion of sports should be given sufficient funding by the government as it plays a crucial role in the formation of the youth. Evidently, the President signed into law this year the establishment of the National Academy of Sports — one of Go’s priority legislative measures.

“Investing in sports will not only help us in keeping our youth away from illegal drugs and other harmful vices, but it will also enable us to develop world class athletes who can bring pride, honor, and medals to our country,” Go said.

Go emphasized that the country needs a strong sports development program that is implemented by a likewise strong PSC and promoted by an enhanced GAB. 

“We need strong regulations of professional sports to combat and prevent the existence of illegal gambling connected with sports and amusement games. To be able to do this, the PSC and GAB must have the budgetary means to pursue programs and activities that would help our athletes,” he ended.

Meanwhile the Senator also pressed concerned agencies to resolve the issue regarding remaining payables to suppliers who were commissioned during the 2019 SEA Games hosting.

In a statement, Go said that he will talk to the Department of Budget and Management on how the government can assist the PSC and the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) in fulfilling their obligations.

“I will try my very best to help.  I will talk to DBM and see how the government can assist and resolve this issue,” Go said.

“Dapat maresolba ng PSC at DBM ang mga payables na ito sa lalong madaling panahon kasama ang PHISGOC bilang sila naman ang inatasan na maging over-all organizer ng 2019 SEA Games hosting ng bansa,” he added.

The Senator emphasized that all debts must be settled immediately, especially to small businesses whose workers are adversely affected by the pandemic. 

“Para sa akin, kung ano ang utang, dapat nilang mabayaran.  That is their obligation, lalo na kung para ito sa mga maliliit na negosyo o mga suweldo ng mga taong naghirap para maging maayos ang hosting natin ng SEA Games,” Go explained.

“Meron pa naman tayong pandemyang hinaharap ngayon at marami ang naghihirap. Apektado ang mga maliliit na negosyo at mga nawalan ng trabaho. Kung anuman ang dapat na maibayad sa kanila, ibigay na dapat kaagad dahil ayaw natin na mga ordinaryong Pilipino ang pumasan ng kakulangan ng iilan na makapagbayad on time,” he added.