Senator Christopher "Bong" Go
Senator Christopher "Bong" GoContributed photo

Boost in PH sports budget eyed

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Sports, emphasized the need to invest in sports programs given its crucial role in nation-building. 

He appealed to the Department of Budget and Management to give importance to sports as he questioned the measly allocation year after year during the Senate plenary discussions on the 2024 budget on Wednesday, November 8.

As Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go underscored the disparity between the proposed budget for the Philippine Sports Commission for example, compared to the overall appropriations for the whole national government budget. He explained that despite PSC's request for P3 billion, DBM approved only P174 million for 2024, a mere 0.004% of the national budget. 

Go further questioned the reason behind such a low allocation considering the significant role of sports in nation-building and the high expectations placed on Filipino athletes in international competitions.

“Napapansin ko lang po, kapag nagsusubmit sila sa DBM ng P3 billion, pagdating sa Committee (on Finance), sasabihin sa amin, less than P200 million lang ang na-approve. Umaasa po sila sana madagdagan po ang kanilang pondo (I just noticed that when they submit P3 billion to the DBM, when it comes to the Committee (on Finance), we are told that less than P200 million was approved. They hope to increase their funds)," said Go.

Go emphasized the success of hosting the 2023 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Cup, which not only promoted the Philippines internationally but also demonstrated the benefits of staging well-organized sporting events. He stressed the government's lack of support for athletes, who often face public backlash when they fail to win, despite the inadequate funding they receive.

The senator also pointed out that the National Sports Development Fund, primarily sourced from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), remains insufficient for the needs of the athletes and the rehabilitation of aging sports facilities, like the Rizal Memorial Complex.

However, he praised Senate Committee on Finance Chairperson Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, for consistently supporting increased sports funding and expressed hope for the DBM to prioritize sports in future budgets.

Angara acknowledged Go's strong advocacy for the sports sector and his deep understanding of its challenges. He noted the difficulty in increasing the sports budget due to competing demands from other agencies and the limited growth in the national expenditure program year on year.

Go also noted that sports serve as a deterrent to illegal drug use among the youth, in line with the ongoing campaign for drug prevention.

Meanwhile, Senator Pia Cayetano supported Go's statements, stressing the value of sports in nation-building and the potential impact on youth development. She emphasized the importance of tracking the benefits of sports engagement in preventing drug addiction and fostering national unity, as evidenced during international competitions. PR

SunStar Publishing Inc.