Go files resolution supporting national basketball program

Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, on Monday filed Senate Resolution No. 83 urging the Committee on Sports to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the ways to support the Philippine men’s basketball team and, in the process, review the relevant laws and policies to ensure optimal performance in future international sports competitions and to protect the welfare of Filipino athletes.

Aside from Go, the said resolution was also introduced by Senators Mark Villar, Francis Tolentino, Alan Peter Cayetano and Senate Majority Floor Leader Joel Villanueva.

Go, who will continue to serve as chair of the Senate Committee on Sports, noted in the resolution that “avid Filipino Gilas fans have clamored that the team receive more support in order to improve their performance in international competitions.”

He added that “there is a pressing need to revisit sports relevant laws and policies which are aimed to support Philippine National Teams participating in international competitions and review any related measures that will ensure the competitiveness and welfare of Filipino athletes.”

The Philippines was unable to complete a record-breaking 14th consecutive Southeast Asian Games gold medal in men’s basketball after losing to Indonesia in Hanoi in May. This also put an end to the country’s 33-year basketball dominance of the SEA Games.

The Philippines was also unable to reach the quarterfinals of the FIBA Asia Cup for the first time in 15 years after losing to Japan in a knockout playoff in Indonesia in July.

These losses came just 14 months before the Philippines co-hosts the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup with Japan and Indonesia, which will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Mall of Asia Arena from August 25 to September 10 next year. The country will also host the final phase of the competition.

“For so many years, our national teams have brought pride and honor to our country. So we want to make sure we can keep on improving,” Go said. “As a legislator, I would want to listen to the athletes, organizers, coaches and sports officials on how the government can help in achieving goals in international competitions,” he said.

A sports enthusiast himself, Go is an ardent advocate for long-term grassroots sports development. As part of his vision to provide a dedicated academy for promising young athletes, Go had authored and co-sponsored a bill in the Senate which became Republic Act No. 11470 in 2020, establishing the National Academy of Sports (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 PSC.

Go has also pushed for other legislative measures to safeguard athletes’ welfare as part of the country’s sports development programs. Previously, he expressed his support for the creation of the Philippine Sports Training Center in Bataan.

Signed by former president Rodrigo Duterte in February 2019, RA 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.”

More recently, the senator also filed his proposed Philippine National Games (PNG) Act of 2022 to ensure a more inclusive system of promoting promising Filipino athletes who possess potential in various fields of sports to be given an equal opportunity of becoming future contenders in international sporting competitions and cement the country’s status as a “Sports Powerhouse in Asia.”