You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Senate OKs Pacquiao bill to create boxing and combat sports commission

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 9/11/2018 Marchadesch, Barbara
PCOO screencap © Provided by GMA News Online PCOO screencap

Voting 20-0, the Senate approved on third and final reading a bill creating the Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission to “promote the safety and welfare” of Filipino boxers and combat sports athletes.

Senate Bill No. 1306 or the “Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission Act of 2018” was authored and sponsored by Senator Manny Pacquiao, an eight-division world boxing champion.

Senator Franklin Drilon at first opposed the bill, which originally proposed the creation of Philippine Boxing Commission, saying that the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) already covers the sport of boxing.

“Instead of creating a new body, the present Games and Amusements Board [should] be monitored closely, we provide them with additional funds. If there are 22 fields of sports that they are supervising, then we provide them with enough manpower,” Drilon said when the bill was deliberated in March 2017.

For his part, Pacquiao said the GAB's efforts are lacking, as the board only has 154 employees and is handling 22 sports.

Drilon ended up introducing the majority of the amendments to the bill, including mandating the commission to provide assistance not only to local athletes and other stakeholders in professional boxing but also to those engaged in professional “combat sports.”

The bill defined combat sport as “any sport, martial art or activity that involves, in accordance to the applicable regulation, striking, kicking, hitting, grappling, throwing and or punching opponents.”

The Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission will be composed of a chairperson and four members and will be placed under the administrative supervision of the Office of the President.

Under the bill, professional boxers and combatants will be enrolled in the Social Security System (SSS), National Health Insurance Program-Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and the Home Development Mutual Fund (PAG-IBIG).

Pacquiao said the bill would require physical and medical examinations, as well as emergency medical services, at all professional boxing and combat sports matches.

He said the bill would also mandate alternative livelihood programs for retired or injured boxers and combatants.

“We are aware that some have met their untimely death due to the lack, if not absence, of safety and emergency medical services while others face retirement without any kind of financial assistance or access to medical care,” Pacquiao said.

He said the country has a “huge potential” when it comes to boxing and similar sports, noting the successful careers of Filipino boxers like Pancho Villa, Gabriel “Flash” Elorde, Rolando Navarette, Luisito Espinosa and Gerry Penalosa.

“How many more of the likes of Nonito Donaire Jr., Donnie Nietes and Brian Viloria are waiting to be given the chance to give pride and honor to our country?”Pacquiao said.

The boxing champion also filed a similar bill when he was still member of the House of Representatives in 2013.

A counterpart bill, filed by Pacquiao’s brother, Representative Rogelio Pacquiao, in August 2017 is still pending at the House committee on games  and amusements. — BM, GMA News

More From GMA News Online

GMA News Online
GMA News Online
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon