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No way, Jose

Pacquiao, Go, Mitra, Trinidad
Sen. Pacquiao, Sen. Go, Chairman Mitra and Commissioner Trinidad

IS there really a need for Philippine Boxing and other Combat Sports Commission (PBC) as proposed by Sen. Manny Pacquiao?

Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra and Commissioners Eduard Trinidad and Mario Masanguid do not think so.

The Muaythai Association of the Philippines (MAP) and several combat sports organizations feel it is a mere duplication of the functions of GAB.

“We recognize the good intention of Senator Pacquiao to help our boxers and other professional combat sports athletes,” said Mitra during last Monday’s hearing of Senate Committee on Sports presided by Chairman Sen. Bong Go.

“But this initiative to create an additional government agency may not be a good move as we are facing a pandemic and all government resources and efforts are geared towards that,” explained Mitra, who attended the hearing via Zoom conference.

In a position paper submitted to the Senate Committee on Sports, GAB claimed the creation of a new government agency will lead to duplication or excess of existing office and functions of the GAB, the agency tasked to regulate and supervise professional boxing and other combat sports in the country since 1950.

GAB also said the creation of PBC in this time of crisis would entail unnecessary expenditures on the part of the government as the Senate Bills will require P150 million appropriation in order to build new offices, hire new employees, buy office equipment and supplies, among others.

“We feel that we have already improved our services and applied the many good advices given by the good Senator. In 2017, GAB received an award from the World Boxing Council (WBC), a world leading sanctioning boxing body, as the ‘Best Boxing Commission’. Last week, GAB received one of the highest ratings from the Commission on Audit,” added Mitra.

Trinidad suggested the appointment of an additional commissioner for GAB.

“We suggest the appointment of another GAB Commissioner whose functions will be focused on boxing and other combat sports instead of creating a new government agency,” said Trinidad.

“Mas makakabuti po siguro kung ang pondong gagamitin para sa pagtatayo ng PBC ay itulong na lamang natin sa mga tao,” added Masanguid.

Earlier, MAP expressed its support to the position taken by GAB.

In a position paper dated Sept. 13 and signed by MAP president and chairman Gen. Lucas Managuelod and secretary-general Pearl Managuelod, the group claimed that Senate Bill 1306 (Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission Act of 2018) authored by Sen. Manny Pacquiao is “a mere duplication of the functions and mandate of the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).”

“After careful reconsideration of the proposed bill, the Muaythai Association of the Philippines expresses its continued support to the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) as the only governing body for professional sports in the country,” said Gen. Managuelod in the statement.

“The formulation of a new commission is redundant in its mandate with GAB and will overlap with the existing powers, duties and functions performed by GAB, thus deeming it irrelevant and unnecessary. MAP sees no benefit in the proposed commission.”

“GAB was at the forefront in providing assistance from the start of pandemic and has always looked after the welfare of professional athletes. At this time, all funds should be aligned in the fight against COVID-19 and this bill will be untimely and insensitive to the light of the Filipino people,” he added.

Also expresings their solidarity with GAB are the Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC), headed by jiu-jitsu master Alvin Aguilar , and other mixed martial arts groups.