Press Release
September 23, 2019

PSC, GAB budgets approved on committee level; Go vows to defend funding for country's sports programs

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) proposed budgets for 2020 were approved on committee level during a Senate public hearing on Monday, September 23, presided by Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, chairperson of the Subcommittee F of the Senate Committee on Finance.

During his opening statement, Go expressed his support for the PSC and GAB, reiterating that sports development is one of his priorities in the Senate.

"Let me first express my full support for the Philippine Sports Commission. As Chairman of the Committee on Sports and a known advocate of Philippine sports, the budget for sports is one of my priorities," he said.

Go also mentioned that the "Constitution itself recognizes the vital role of sports in fostering patriotism and nationalism, accelerating social progress, and promoting total human liberation and development."

In his statement, the senator also acknowledged the importance of sports as an instrument to keep the youth away from vices, like illegal drugs and criminality.

"As I have said time and again, sports has the unique capability of developing in our youth a sense of camaraderie and responsibility, while at the same time, keeping them away from the evils of dangerous drugs and criminality," he said.

Go also stated how he supported the country's sports program by aiding Filipino athletes and advocating policies to further bolster sports development.

"I have supported various programs and initiatives for the advancement of Philippine sports," said Go.

He added, "From my all out support as part of the delegation for Gilas Pilipinas, finding ways to supplement the training of our Hidylin Diaz in the continuing search for that elusive Olympic gold, to advocating for the establishment of a National Academy of Sports for High School, my love for sports is fueled primarily by my love for our country and our countrymen."

Go also said that he will "defend the budget for sports, as long as the government ensures that every centavo is directed towards achieving the goals as set out in the Constitution" and that the "money is put to good use, wisely spent, and used solely for the intended purpose."

Reviewing the budget presented by PSC Chairman William Ramirez, Go asked the reason for the huge disparity between the PSC-proposed budget and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM)-proposed budget.

"Bakit malaki ang ibinaba sa DBM-proposed budget kumpara sa proposed budget ninyo?" Go asked.

He added, "Napansin ko na sa 2019, may capital outlay kayo. Pero wala sa 2018 at 2020. Ano ang utilization ng capital outlay? Anong ang gamit nito?"

"As far as capital outlay is concerned, bulk of it is the equipment for the SEA Games hosting, although we have some rehabilitation works included in the budget," a representative from the PSC responded.

Meanwhile, Go also led the deliberations of the proposed 2020 budget for GAB.

"I have no objections in their proposed budget, but we just have to make sure that government funds are utilized properly and that they are accounted up to the last centavo," said Go to the GAB representatives.

Stating his support for the upcoming Philippine Professional Sports summit, Go asked what goals the agency would like to achieve with the event.

"GAB will hold the Philippine Professional Sports Summit for the first time. I support this initiative. I think it's about time we have this kind of event. Does GAB plan to hold it annually? Aside from a roadmap, what are other goals you'd like to achieve?" asked Go.

According to GAB Chairman Abraham Kahlil B. Mitra, a portion of the summit will be a seminar on effects of performance enhancement drugs.

Go also asked the role of GAB in emerging sports. "There are new emerging sports, such as e-sports, which will be in the SEA Games. Is the GAB doing its part in the growth of these industries?"

"GAB is a regulatory agency, not a promoting agency. But we provide support, such as athletes traveling outside the country," Mitra said.

"How about the campaign against illegal gambling. Ano ang participation ninyo dito?" Go asked.

"Sa ngayon, we are coordinating with the PNP and NBI. Bookies po ng karera ng kabayo ang madalas na illegal gambling. Wala po kasi kaming police power kaya kailangan namin ng police. Minsan lang, kapag nag-coordinate, wala na 'yung pulis," the GAB chief responded.

Concerned about game fixing in sports, Go also asked what efforts are undertaken to combat this issue.

"Yung anti-game fixing, sa boxing ang ginagawa namin, binabawasan ang mismatches. Kapag evenly matched, mahirap gumawa ng ganyan," Mitra said.

"Sa PBA, self-regulation. Pero in the coming months, we will be looking into it kase mayroon tayong anti-game fixing software na na-aprubahan ng Kongreso na maaaring ma-combat," Mitra added.

Go also asked how athletes are screened to ensure that they do not engage in drug use. He also suggested the use of mandatory drug testing to intensify the fight against drugs in sports.

"Ito namang sa drugs, mga players na involved sa drugs. Papaano po ang monitoring ninyo na hindi sila nagte-take ng drugs, shabu? Baka kailangan din ng random drug testing para walang kawala talaga," he said.

"As long as the athlete is active, every year po ay kinukuhanan ng mandatory drug test," a GAB representative said.

"PBA conducts its own random drug testing. The GAB will coordinate and come up with its own resolution. We also do surprise visits to boxing gyms," Mitra responded.

Hearing no objections from fellow senators present in the hearing, Go approved the budgets for PSC and GAB in the committee level and will now be deliberated in the Senate plenary.

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