ASSURING full support from the Philippine government, Senator Christopher Bong Go pushed Friday for additional allowances and other incentives for Filipino athletes competing in Tokyo Olympics as he assured them of the commitment from the Duterte administration.
Sen. Go, sitting as chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, affirmed in a statement his and President Rodrigo Duterte’s “untiring commitment to promote the welfare of Filipino athletes” by pushing for additional support for Team Philippines who will be competing in the Tokyo Olympics.
The senator assured that following the request of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) coursed through him, the Office of the President will “provide additional allowance to athletes” competing in the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan.
“Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa mahal na Pangulo, sa Office of the President, dahil inaprubahan nila ang ating apela na dagdagan ang allowances ng ating mga atleta na lalahok sa Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics,” said Go, who joined the PSC in endorsing the athletes allowance increase to the President.
Sen. Go added he expects the Filipino athletes to bring home gold medals for the country from the Tokyo Olympics, adding: “We wish them good luck at ako naman po ay tiwalang kakayanin nating manalo at makakuha ng ating inaasam na gold medal para sa ating bayan. Dito lang po kami nagbibigay ng full support sa ating mga atleta.”
He assured that an “additional allowance” worth P100,000 was granted by the President “as a token and to celebrate the achievement” of the athletes qualified for the Olympics and Paralympics, as suggested by the senator.
Go recalled that earlier, initial allowances and provisions have already been given to the athletes and coaches including US$1,000 per person, delegation supply of competition equipment and uniforms, plane tickets, billeting, and delegation uniforms through the efforts of the PSC.
The Senator noted there are presently 19 Filipino Olympians qualified to compete in the Olympics from July 23 to September 8, as well as five Filipino Paralympians qualified for the Paralympics that will take place from August 24 to September 5.
In a statement, Sen. Go reminded that under Republic Act No. 10699, Olympic medalists would be awarded PhP10 million for winning a gold medal; PhP5 million for a silver medal; and PhP2 million for a bronze medal, while Paralympic medalists would get PhP5 million for a gold medal; PhP2.5 million for a silver medal; and PhP1 million for a bronze medal.
At the same time, the administration Senator assured in a radio interview that President Duterte is also expected to provide additional cash incentives to all medalists. “I am sure, si Pangulong Duterte, handa rin pong magbigay ng dagdag na insentibo kung makakuha tayo ng medalya. Known naman po ang mga Pilipino na matatapang, magigiting at lumalaban. Let’s give the best, ang Pilipino lumalaban talaga ‘yan.”
Moreover, Sen. Go affirmed that “adequate funding’ was included in the PSC’s budget to support athletes’ preparations for the Olympics and other international events, adding that sitting as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance and Chair of the Senate Committee on Sports, he specifically pushed for an additional P100 million to be included in the 2021 budget that was later on increased further to P250 million under the PSC budget for Olympic preparations. Go added that as for the Paralympics, he had earlier supported the “allocation of an additional PhP7.945 million budget for their preparations.”
Earlier, Sen. Go also successfully appealed to the Duterte government to include in the priority list for COVID-19 vaccination the Filipino athletes and other delegates who will be competing or participating in the upcoming Olympics.
During the imposition of enhanced community quarantine measures in most parts of the country last year, Go had prodded concerned agencies to also help athletes whose training and livelihood had been hampered by the pandemic, adding that the Department of Social Welfare and Development, in coordination with the Games and Amusement Board and the PSC, provided financial assistance and other forms of aid to athletes in various parts of the country upon the senator’s recommendation.
In addition, Sen. Go likewise pushed for legislation to safeguard athletes’ welfare as part of the country’s sports development programs, recalling that previously, he expressed support for the Philippine Sports Training Center in Bataan.
Signed by President Duterte in February 2019, Republic Act No. 11214 provides for the creation of the PSTC which seeks “to promote and develop sports in the country, to achieve excellence in international sports competitions, to ensure success in the country’s quest to achieve competitiveness in the Olympic Games and to promote international amity among nations.”
Go highlighted that together with the National Academy of Sports, both institutions are gifts from the government to national athletes. In June of last year, President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA No. 11470, which established the NAS. Go was one of the measure’s authors and co-sponsors.
He also commended President Duterte for approving the funding for the development of the NAS’s facilities and amenities in a timely manner. The government has set aside P729 million for building expenditures, which include civil works, fittings, furnishings, and equipment, as well as consultant services.
“Ngayon na meron nang National Academy of Sports, mabibigyan na ang mga kabataang atleta ng pagkakataon na mag-training at makapag-aral sa isang world-class na pasilidad at eskwelahan,” he added.
Go also urged promising young Filipino athletes to join the National Academy of Sports Annual Search for Competent, Exceptional, Notable and Talented Student-Athlete Scholars (NASCENT SAS) as the deadline of submission of applications had been extended to July 31.