Siargao opens new Sports and Tourism Complex

As Bong Go expresses optimism in the recovery of the country’s tourism sector

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go joined President Rodrigo Duterte and other key officials as the President led the inauguration of the Siargao Island Sports and Tourism Complex and other big-ticket projects in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte on Saturday, November 7. 

Citing Siargao Island’s reputation as one of the most famous tourist destinations in the country, Go said that the opening of the PhP630.2M Siargao Island Sports and Tourism Complex will greatly boost the island’s tourism sector and the country’s economy recovery.

Established in the town of Dapa, the Siargao Island Sports and Tourism Complex can accommodate a total of 1,632 persons with its first-class facilities and amenities. It can also hold various national and international sports and tourism events. 

The 6.3-hectare complex, which was started in 2015, is also equipped with basketball, volleyball and badminton courts, a dormitory for student-athletes, rubberized athletic oval, soccer field, swimming pool, the two-storey, six-classroom Siargao Sports High School, and a convention center. 

The senator then echoed the President’s appeal to the local governments in Siargao Island to take care and preserve the natural beauty of the island to ensure that next generations of Filipinos will also get to enjoy it in the future.

Go, as the Chair of Senate Committee on Sports, also mentioned that the said complex also aims to inspire young athletes to hone their athletic talents and skills. 

“Masaya ako sa pagbubukas ng Siargao Sports and Tourism Complex dahil ito po ay isa sa maraming proyekto ng Duterte Administration na makakatulong sa ating ekonomiya at pag-unlad ng bansa,” Go expressed. 

“Ito rin ay magbibigay daan sa ating mga atleta upang maipakita ang kanilang angking galing sa iba’t-ibang uri ng sports,” he added. 

As part of his pledge to continue the positive changes initiated by the Duterte Administration, the vice presidential aspirant also cited that the pursuing infrastructure development will boost the economic recovery of the country to eventually provide a comfortable and sustainable life for those in the countryside.

“I am also confident na marami ang mabibigyan ng trabaho dahil sa pagbubukas ng SISTC. Magbubukas ito ng maraming oportunidad para sa mga nasa isla at buong rehiyon,” Go said. 

“Kinakailangan lang po natin na panatiliin ang mga nasimulang magagandang adhikain ni Pangulong Duterte sa mga susunod na administrasyon upang magtuloy-tuloy ang magagandang pagbabago para sa ating mga kababayan kahit saang sulok man sila ng bansa,” he added. 

Aside from the Siargao Island Sports and Tourism Complex, President Duterte also unveiled other projects under the Build, Build, Build program by the Department of Public Works and Highways, including the opening of Catangnan-Cabitoonan Bridge Three-Point Bridge System which has an overall budget of PhP434 million. 

“The construction of additional roads and bridges is vital to our country’s economic development by enhancing the mobility and accessibility of people, goods and services,” Duterte expressed. 

The event was attended by First District Representative Francisco Jose Matugas II, Governor Francisco Matugas, Dapa Mayor Elizabeth Matugas, Surigao City Mayor Ernesto Matugas Jr., Burgos Mayor Emmanuel Arcena, Claver Mayor Georgia Gokiangkee, and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar. 

Also present were DPWH Undersecretary Eugenio Pipo Jr. representing Secretary Roger Mercado, Assistant Secretary Ador Canlas of the Regional Operations in Mindanao, Regional Director Pol Delos Santos, and Assistant Director Nomer Canlas of Regional Office 13, and Surigao del Norte 1st District engineer Alex Ramos.

#

Bong Go lauds proclamation of fourth Sunday of November as National Bicycle Day, pushes for safety measures to protect bicycle riders

With the growing use of bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation and the increasing number of cycling enthusiasts in the country, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for proclaiming every fourth Sunday of November as National Bicycle Day through Proclamation No. 1052 he signed last November 18.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is mandated to lead its observance every year, in coordination with relevant non-government organizations and civil society groups.

“Dapat lamang mas bigyan pa natin ng kaukulang suporta ang ating mga siklista. Siguraduhin rin natin na maprotektahan sila at mapromote pa lalo ito bilang mas healthy and environment friendly mode of transportation,” Go said, who also chairs the Senate Committees on Sports and Health.

Go, who has been a supporter of the use of bicycles as an active form of transportation in the country, aims to also provide awareness on the benefits of non-motorized transportation to the environment. He also emphasized the benefits of cycling to the physical health and well-being of Filipinos.

“Sa panahon ngayon, kailangan na nating isipin paano makakatulong ang ating lifestyle sa ating kalusugan. Sa pamamagitan ng paggamit ng bisikleta, mabibigyan tayo ng pagkakataong makapag-exercise at, syempre, makatulong sa ating kapaligiran,” Go said.

Moreover, the Senator is urging Filipinos to consider the bicycle as a means of mobility amid the ongoing the pandemic. Given the existing community quarantine restrictions, the challenges and limitations on public transportation, Go has been encouraging Filipinos who need to go to work to use bicycles.

He added, “And, in fact, doon po sa mga nasunugan, tinatanong ko sila, hirap po sila… they’re having a hard time po sa transportation in going to their respective na trabaho po nila, so sabi ko, I encourage them to use bicycles. Minsan po namimigay po ako ng bisikleta sa kanila.”

During aid distribution activities and outreach programs conducted by his office for Filipinos affected by the pandemic, calamities and other crisis situations around the country, the Senator has been giving away bicycles to provide means of transportation, especially to those who have to go to work.

“Limitado ang ating transportasyon ngayon dahil sa pandemya. Kailangan maiwasan muna natin ang paggamit masyado ng pampublikong sasakyan dahil ayaw nating mahawaan ng sakit. Kaya naman isa sa mga solusyon talaga ay ang paggamit ng bisikleta,” Go said.

In his speech on the public hearing of the Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation and Futures Thinking held on July 16, Go said, “I have strongly been advocating for the use of bicycles these days. Matagal ko na rin pong hinihikayat ang ating mga kababayan na gumamit nalang po ng bisikleta para sa kanilang pang-araw araw na commute.”

Last August, Go also expressed his full support for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1582, also known as the “Safe Pathways Act”. The bill seeks to establish networks of pop-up bicycle lanes and emergency pathways along local roads following the imposition of community quarantine measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senator has been reminding national and local governments to designate bike lanes to ensure the ease and safety of those who opt to use such mode of transportation as well as the general public.

Citing the National Transport Policy of the National Economic Development Authority, “LGUs and national agencies shall accord the highest priority to the development of proper sidewalks and networks of bicycle lanes that will encourage active transport and provide safe and direct access to priority destinations.” According to Go, it is imperative that people-mobility must be prioritized over vehicle-mobility.

“Let us just make sure the lanes are properly assigned with demarcation lines and lighting in place,” Go said.

Since 2014, the National Bicycle Day has been held every fourth Sunday of November in the country in line with the observance of the National Environmental Awareness month, Clean Air Month, and the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, Survivors and their Families which are all celebrated on the same month.

Go also reminded bicycle riders to follow traffic rules and safety regulations in order to avoid accidents and untoward incidents.

“Pakiusap lang po sa mga nagbibisikleta: sumunod po tayo sa batas trapiko at sa mga patakaran. Maging disiplinado po tayo para sa kaayusan rin ng ating komunidad,” he said.

####

Bong Go provides aid to boxers group in Davao City under strict health protocols

Amid the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the country, Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Sports Christopher “Bong” Go continues to help vulnerable sectors and those who are in need of assistance, including athletes and coaches whose activities and livelihood have been adversely affected by the crisis.

On Friday, August 21, the Senator personally visited and aided 59 beneficiaries from the boxers group at the Buhangin Gym in Buhangin, Davao City on Friday, August 21.

Go provided immediate relief, such as food, masks and medicine packs to the athletes. The distribution of assistance by the Senator and his team strictly followed health and safety protocols imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

During his speech, Go, who also sits as the Senate Health Committee Chair, reminded the athletes to take good care of their health during the pandemic.

“Mga boxers, alam ko naman na sanay na kayo. Mag-ensayo muna kayo para ang resistensya natin lumakas dahil itong COVID, napansin namin kung sino ‘yung malakas ang resistensya, nakaka-recover agad,” Go said.

“Tingnan ninyo, tumataas ang numero ng nagpopositibo pero mataas rin ang numero sa mga nakarecover at karamihan sa mga nakarecover ay mga bata,” he added.

Go also echoed the pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte that the poor and vulnerable sectors must be prioritized when it comes to government services and assistance, most especially once a vaccine against the virus is made available.

“Magsuot kayo ng face shields at lagi rin kayong mag-mask. Pero ‘wag kayong mag-alala dahil kami ni Presidente Duterte, nagsusumikap talaga kapag mayroon ng vaccine na talagang tested na, ‘yung sigurado na protektado tayo sa sakit, uunahin talaga namin ang mga mahihirap na makakatanggap agad ng vaccine,” he said.

“Sisiguraduhin namin na accessible sa inyo lalo na ‘yung mga vulnerable. Ibig sabihin ng vulnerable, ito ‘yung mga tao na kinakailangan magtrabaho, kinakailangang lumabas sila. ‘Yung madaling mahawaan, sila ang uunahin natin na mabigyan ng vaccine,” the Senator added.

Earlier, Go also urged the national government to also provide proper masks for the poor and to those who cannot afford to buy their own. Go also urged the government to enforce a stronger mask-wearing policy in the country.

“Let us make this a discipline among all Filipinos as we continue our fight to stop the spread of COVID-19. I am urging the government to use its resources to provide masks, especially to the poor and vulnerable,” he said in his previous statements.

“Importante po ang mga mahihirap na ‘di makabili ng mask, ito ang gawan nila ng paraan na mabigyan para maprotektahan nila ang sarili at ang kanilang komunidad mula sa pagkalat ng sakit,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development also provided additional assistance to the athletes as part of its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program.

The Senator also provided select beneficiaries with a healthier mode of transportation—bicycles. Go has earlier expressed his support for using bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation, especially at a time when public transportation is limited in many places in the country.

“I have strongly been advocating for the use of bicycles these days. Matagal ko na rin pong hinihikayat ang ating mga kababayan na gumamit nalang po ng bisikleta para sa kanilang pang-araw araw na commute,” he said.

Ending his message to the boxers, Go told them not to hesitate to seek his or the President’s help in times of need.

“‘Wag kayong mahiya na lumapit sa akin dahil trabaho namin ‘yan. Lapitan n’yo lang kami. Mayroon ba kayong gustong ipaabot kay Presidente? Magsabi lang kayo dahil ipagpapatuloy ko ang maging tulay ninyo kay Presidente,” Go said.

Go also appealed to the athletes for their cooperation and understanding amid the ongoing crisis. He asked them to set a good example for their communities by cooperating with authorities and following health and safety protocols as the government looks for more ways to promote the welfare of all Filipinos during the pandemic.

“Humihingi lang ako sa inyo ng pang-uunawa. Alam ko na napakahirap ng inyong kalagayan. Magtulungan at magbayanihan tayo upang maiahon ang ating bayan mula sa krisis na nangyayari ngayon,” he said.

“Magkaisa po tayo at patuloy na magmalasakit sa kapwa. Sino ba naman ang magtutulungan kundi tayo ring mga kapwa Pilipino,” he appealed.

On August 19, Go, through his team, also distributed immediate relief assistance to residents in nearby Tagum City, Davao del Norte who were affected by a fire incident and two freak tornado incidents in different barangays recently.

5th PRRD SONA to bring hope of a better future for Filipinos amid ongoing challenges — Sen. Bong Go

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” shared his optimism that President Rodrigo Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address this coming Monday, July 27, will bring hope of a better future for Filipinos despite the ongoing challenges the country is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senator said that he is also expecting the President to provide concrete plans and proposed legislative measures to strengthen the government’s efforts to overcome the ongoing crisis and steer the country towards socio-economic recovery.

“I am expecting that the President will focus his 5th SONA on measures (1) to strengthen our fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, (2) to address the needs of the people to overcome the hardships that the crisis has caused in everyone’s lives, and also, (3) to sustain the gains of the Duterte Administration’s promise of a comfortable life for all despite the challenges that we are facing,” said Go in a statement.

“Our goal now is not only to adapt to the ‘new normal’, but to lead our country towards a ‘better normal’ and better quality of life,” he added.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go is confident that primary importance will be placed on measures ramping up the healthcare system’s capacity at all levels.

“Aside from enhancing our overall capacity to Test, Trace and Treat COVID-19 cases, I am hoping that he will also prioritize improving the capacities and capabilities of public hospitals, establishing mandatory quarantine facilities and evacuation centers, strengthening our health workforce, promoting the welfare and well-being of our medical frontliners, and preparing a national vaccine program for COVID-19 in anticipation of its availability to ensure that Filipinos can have access to it,” Go said.

With this, Go expects to see more of health-related bills to be prioritized as both Houses of Congress are set to open their second regular session of the 18th Congress next week. Recently, Go also called for the development of a national vaccine program for the strategic allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine to the general population in anticipation of possible challenges once the vaccine is made available.

“Kapag dumating ang panahon na mayroon nang vaccine at gamot laban sa COVID-19, dapat handa tayo na mabigyan ang lahat ng Pilipinong nangangailangan nito, mahirap man o mayaman,” Go said previously.

Go also said he expects the President will shed a spotlight on key economic responses to mitigate the human and economic impact of the pandemic.

“Pangalawa, bibigyang pansin rin n’ya ang mga pangangailangan ng mga ordinaryong mamamayan na hirap na hirap na sa sitwasyon ngayon. Kasama na dyan ang pagpapabuti ng mga government assistance programs for the poor, livelihood opportunities for displaced workers, and stimulus programs to jumpstart the economy,” Go said.

“Dahil apektado ang lahat ng sektor ng lipunan dahil sa pandemya, prayoridad rin ng Pangulo na siguraduhing hindi tumigil ang serbisyong dapat natatanggap ng mga tao,” he added.

Go also said that efficient, effective and responsive government service delivery must be sustained despite the ordeal in order for citizens to continue to develop and for the businesses to help jumpstart the economy.

“Kasama dito ang mga plano kung paano makapagpapatuloy ang pag-aaral ng mga bata, ang kabuhayan ng mga nawalan ng trabaho, ang pag-alaga sa ating nga OFWs at ang pagbibigay ng pang-araw-araw na serbisyo ng gobyerno sa ligtas na paraan,” he said.

Despite the challenges faced this year, Go expects the Duterte administration to continue working hard in order to fulfill its promise of a comfortable life for all Filipinos.

“Inaasahan kong sisiguraduhin rin ng Pangulo na hindi mapapabayaan ang mga naunang mga prayoridad sa kanyang termino, tulad ng Build Build Build Projects at iba pang programa na naglalayong mabigyan ng komportable at ligtas na buhay ang lahat ng Pilipino. Kasama na diyan ang patuloy na laban kontra iligal na droga, ang seguridad at kapayapaan sa loob at labas ng bansa, at pagpapalakas ng ating disaster resiliency efforts,” he stressed.

As the Duterte administration enters the latter part of its term, Go said that the President remains determined in improving the lives of Filipinos by consistently pushing for development in all parts of the country and by continuously aiming to bring government services closer to the people.

“Dahil sa epekto rin ng pandemya, may mga inisyatibo ang Pangulo tulad ng Balik Probinsya Program na magbibigay ng bagong pag-asa at mas magandang buhay sa mga Pilipino kung pipiliin nilang manirahan sa kanilang mga probinsya,” he said.

“Kasama rin sa layunin nating mailapit ang gobyerno sa tao, mapabilis ang pagbigay tulong, mabawasan ang red tape, at maitigil ang korapsyon, naniniwala akong bibigyang pansin rin niya ang rekomendasyon ko na gawing prayoridad ang transition to E-governance,” he added.

Go also expressed his faith that the country will bounce back from this crisis with a deeper commitment of improving the lives of fellow Filipinos.

“Malayo na ang ating narating mula nang umupo si Pangulong Duterte. Bagama’t patuloy ang mga pagsubok na ating hinaharap, hinuhubog rin nito ang ating kakayahan at pagkatao upang mas makapagserbisyo pa lalo sa ating kapwa tungo sa tunay na pagbabago,” he said.

“Ako naman po, uunahin ko palagi ang interes, kapakanan, at buhay ng mga ordinaryong mamamayan na pinagsisilbihan ko. Patuloy ko rin pong susuportahan ang mga mithiin at mga ipinaglalaban ni Pangulong Duterte para mabigyan ng mas maayos na kinabukasan ang bawat Pilipino,” he ended.

###

National Academy of Sports Act signed by PRRD; Bong Go says new law to benefit student-athletes and promote long-term sports development in the country

Senator and Senate Sports Committee Chair Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law Republic Act 11470, seeking to establish the National Academy of Sports, in a simple ceremony in Davao City on Tuesday, June 9.

The bicameral conference committee report of this measure, based on Senate Bill No. 1086 and House Bill No. 6312, was ratified by the Senate last May 11, followed by the House of Representatives last May 19. Prior to this 18th Congress, similar measures have been pending in the legislature for almost a decade already.

“I firmly believe that with this law, we will be able to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of sports development,” Go, one of the principal authors, said.

Go added that with the establishment of the NAS in very close proximity to world-class facilities in New Clark City, student-athletes can enjoy a level of training which is at par with the best in the world and at the same time be given quality education.

“It is about time that we establish a learning institution focused on sports. Ngayon na magkakaroon na ng National Academy of Sports, sabay nang mabibigyan ang mga kabataang atleta ng pagkakataon na mag-training at makapag-aral sa isang world-class na pasilidad at eskwelahan,” Go said.

On his first month as a Senator, Go filed Senate Bill No. 397 that sought to establish a high school for sports. It was one of his priority bills filed in the present 18th Congress and was also mentioned by President Duterte in his last State of the Nation Address as part of the priority legislative agenda of the administration.

“As the Chairman of the Committee on Sports, I would like to express my gratitude to my fellow legislators for coming together in support of this measure for the benefit of our youth and for the benefit of Philippine sports,” he said.

Go also emphasized that the support of President Duterte and his vision of providing the youth with better opportunities to develop into productive citizens of society through sports were crucial in the passage of the said measure.

“Malaki rin ang pasasalamat natin kay Pangulong Duterte sa pag-apruba niya sa panukalang ito. Isang dekada ang hinintay natin bago naisabatas ito,” he said.

“Sa pamamagitan ng pagbigay ng sapat at maayos na mga programa para sa ating mga kabataan na makapag-aral ng mabuti at magabayan sila sa kanilang mga talento tulad sa sports, mas mabibigyan sila ng oportunidad na magtagumpay sa buhay at mailayo sa masasamang bisyo tulad ng iligal na droga,” he explained further.

Go also expressed his gratitude to government agencies for supporting the legislature during the deliberations of the proposed measure and for affirming their commitment to help realize this dream for aspiring athletes.

“I also would like to thank the Philippines Sports Commission, the Department of Education, the Department of Budget and Management, and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority for their commitment that allowed us to hit the ground running once this measure is signed by President Duterte,” Go acknowledged in a speech he delivered during a Senate session last month.

The NAS will develop and implement a secondary education program, integrated with a special curriculum on sports, targeting young Filipinos with the talent and desire to develop further their sporting skills. Full scholarship will be offered to qualified natural-born secondary school students.

Among others, the law requires that the main campus of the NAS shall be established at the existing New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, Tarlac. It shall be equipped with the necessary sports facilities, housing, and other amenities according to current international standards. School buildings with sufficient number of classrooms and facilities shall also be constructed at the complex.

The academy will be attached to DepEd, in close coordination with the PSC, tasked to develop the athletic skills and talents of students in world-class facilities at par with international standards.

In addition to honing the students, the board of the academy will also be allowed to approve the hiring of licensed foreign coaches, trainers and consultants duly certified as necessary by PSC. This is to ensure the international competitiveness of the students.

The consolidated Senate and House bills were principally authored by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian and Rep. Roman Romulo. Other principal authors in the Senate, aside from Go, include Senators Sonny Angara and Pia Cayetano. Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano also authored the House version, together with others who filed similar measures, such as Representatives Victor Yap, Wilfrido Mark Enverga, Mikee Romero, Roberto Puno, Yedda Marie Romualdez, Luis Ray Villafuerte, Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Henry Villarica, Alyssa Sheena Tan, Jose Enrique Garcia, Joy Myra Tambunting, Lord Allan Jay Velasco, Paolo Duterte, Lani Cayetano, Abraham Tolentino and Eric Martinez.

Other legislators from both Houses of Congress also signified their intent to become co-authors of the said measure.

Even before he became a Senator, Go always believed that promoting sports can be an effective means for Filipinos to stay away from illegal drugs and criminality.

“Naniniwala ako na epektibong paraan ang sports upang mailayo natin ang mga kabataan sa iligal na droga, kriminalidad at katiwalian. Layunin ko na mabigyan ang ating mga kabataan ng maayos na edukasyon para magkaroon ng marangal at maayos na pamumuhay sa kanilang pagtanda,” he repeatedly said.

Late last year, the Philippines hosted the 30th Southeast Asian Games, emerging as the over-all champion when Team Pilipinas captured a total of 149 gold medals.

“Maganda ang performance natin noong nakaraang SEA Games pero kailangan nating maibalik ang pagiging sports powerhouse ng Pilipinas sa Asya. Sa tulong ng NAS, mas mapapalakas natin ang ating sports development programs upang matulungan ang ating mga atleta na magtagumpay sa kanilang larangan at makakapagbigay ng dagdag karangalan sa ating bansa,” Go said.

The NAS shall be geared towards the early recognition and development of highly talented and exceptionally gifted students and those who have demonstrated the potential of excelling in the field of sports.

“With this landmark measure, the Philippines can produce more world-class Filipino athletes who are well-educated and well-rounded, with a strong sense of patriotism and love of country,” Go stressed.

In his first year in office as a Senator, four of Go’s priority bills have already been enacted into law. Prior to the NAS Act, other laws he authored include Republic Act 11462 (Postponing the May 2020 Barangay and SK Elections), RA 11463 (Malasakit Centers Act), and RA 11466 (Salary Standardization Act).

###