Bong Go, PSC provide financial support to each Filipino Olympian

Bong Go, PSC provide financial support to each Filipino Olympian

Photo from the Office of Sen. Bong Go

MANILA, Philippines — As they represent the country and embark on the journey that brings them closer to their Olympic gold medal dream, the athletes representing the Philippines in the 2024 Paris Olympics received an added boost from Senator Christopher “Bong” Go and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on Friday.

As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Sports, Go, who is a sports enthusiast and an athlete himself, expressed his unwavering support for Filipino Olympians as he personally led the turnover of checks together with PSC chair Richard Bachmann, commissioners Bong Coo and Ed Hayco, Executive Director Paulo Tatad, and other officials for the fifteen competing athletes with nine physically present during the ceremony held at the PSC office in Manila City.

Bong Go, PSC provide financial support to each Filipino Olympian

Photo from the Office of Sen. Bong Go

The financial support was made possible through the efforts of Go and the PSC. Each Filipino athlete competing in the 2024 Summer Olympics received P500,000 to help them in their preparations.

READ: Filipino aces fly to Paris Olympics with pocket money like no other

“Your budget is always something I fight for… I will fight for it because I know it helps you. As Nesty (Petecio) said, I know you’re not after the incentives, the honor, that cannot be bought. The honor you bring to our country, you will carry that for life,” Go said in Filipino.

The athletes who received financial support include Nesthy Petecio, Hergie Bacyadan, Aira Villegas, Eumir Marcial and Carlo Paalam for boxing; Vanessa Sarno, John Ceniza, and Elreen Ann Ando for weightlifting; Carlos Edriel Yulo, Aleah Finnegan, Levi Jung, Emma Malabuyo for gymnastics; Joanie Delgaco for rowing; Samantha Catantan for fencing; and EJ Obiena for pole vaulting.

“Don’t thank us. We should be thanking you because you’ve given us the opportunity to serve you. I will never neglect our athletes,” said Go in his speech.

The senator also thanked the PSC officials for their collaborative efforts, emphasizing their shared advocacy for strengthening the country’s sports programs. “We need to work together to ensure our athletes have the support they need,” he expressed.

“The Philippine Sports Commission is very thankful for all the support received for the Filipino athletes. Special thanks to Senator Bong Go for your commitment to enrich our sector as the Chairperson of the Senate Committee of Sports. Your dedication to be always at the forefront and fight for better policies and programs for all the athletes deserved to be given a salute,” PSC Commissioner Olivia “Bong” Coo said.

Furthermore, Petecio also expressed the athletes’ gratitude, saying, “Sir, senator, we really feel the support you give us. We are deeply grateful for that because you made us feel the support we athletes need… I also want to be honest that I have felt the support now.”

Go, who is also the chair of the Senate committee on health and demography, has been a staunch advocate for sports, consistently promoting it as a means to steer the youth away from vices and promote a healthy lifestyle.

“Sports and health are connected. That’s why I always say ‘get into sports, stay away from drugs to keep us healthy and fit.’ When we are physically fit, we are healthy and our lives are extended. Sports are a big help, not only for physical health but also for mental health,” said Go.

The senator also shared that he has consistently supported the Philippine delegates in various international competitions. He earlier attended the Asian Games in China and the SEA Games in Cambodia, cheering on and motivating Filipino athletes firsthand as part of his steadfast support for Filipino athletes.

He firmly believes in the potential of Filipino athletes to excel on the global stage, frequently rallying the nation with his enthusiastic cheer, “Go for Gold! Always remember those words… Those are your motivation. We are here for you.”

Go’s sports advocacy extends beyond support to elite athletes as he continuously helps promote grassroots sports development in the country. This, he believes, will lay a strong foundation for future generations of Filipino athletes.

Notable among these is Republic Act No. 11470, authored and co-sponsored by Go, which established the National Academy of Sports (NAS) in New Clark City, Tarlac, aimed at providing specialized education and training for aspiring student athletes.

He also led the passage of Senate Bill No. 2514 or The Philippine National Games (PNG) Act. Already approved on the third reading by the Senate, the bill aims to institutionalize an inclusive platform for a national sports competition that extends to the grassroots to help identify and develop sports talents if enacted into law.

Recognizing the critical need for sufficient funding in the sports sector, the senator emphasized his successful efforts to secure an increased budget for sports programs as Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee to significantly improve Filipino athletes’ preparation, training, and competitive performance in the international stage, as well as launch effective programs to cultivate the talents of young and aspiring sports enthusiasts in the grassroots.

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Go concluded the event by wishing the Olympian athletes good luck and encouraging them with the words, “Fight for the Philippines!” He assured them that win or lose, the entire nation stands proud and supportive. “As your chairman of the Senate committee on sports, I am always behind you,’ he affirmed.”