IS there really a need to establish a Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission (PBCSC)?
What will be the role of the PBCSC vis-a-vis the Games and Amusement Board (GAB)?
Where will the government get the budget for a new regulatory and supervisory body exclusively for boxing and combat sports?
These are some of the questions raised by GAB Chairnan Abraham “Baham” Mitra in reaction to Senate Bill 1306 (or the law creating the Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission) authored by no less than boxing legend Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
Senate Bill 1306 was already unanimously approved, 20-0, during Senate hearing.
While Mitra lauded the efforts of Sen. Pacquiao to look after the welfare of Filipino boxers and combat sport practitioners thru the creation of PBCSC, the three-time lawmaker from Palawan said the plan will only encroach on the mandate of the GAB.
“It will be nothing but a duplication of the role and function of the GAB, the government regulatory agency tasked to supervise all professional sports and games,” said Mitra during a meeting with officers of the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) in Makati recently.
Mitra said the GAB is already performing its mandate to support not only the welfare of the professional boxers, but all other professionsl athletes under the agency.
The GAB, which was represented by Mitra during the recent Senate deliberation, also submitted a position paper.
“The proposed creation of the Philippine Boxing Commission will divest the GAB one of its original functions for which it was purposely created, leaving the said Board with less than 30 percent of its vested powers and functions under the existing law,” the GAB position paper said.
“We respectfully submit that the objective of the bill, which is to give the sport of boxing the attention it deserves, can be fulfilled by strengthening the existing agency that is GAB,” it added.
Mitra, also a former governor of Palawan, said that GAB has an existing agreement with the Department of Health to provide free medical check up to all professional boxers and combat sports practitioners.
He said the proposal by Sen. Pacquiao to provide additional benefits to pro boxers, including Philhealth and GSIS, can also be addressed by GAB if given an additional budget.
“Ang GAB ay may budget na P130M lamang sa isang taon. Nakakaya po natin na masuportahan ang pangangailangan ng ating mga atleta hindi lamang sa boxing kundi pati sa basketball, volleyball, mixed martial arts at ang sumisikat na e-sports,” explained Mitra.
“Sa proposed budget ng PBCSC, meron silang P150M para sa boxing at contact sports lamang,” he added.
Mitra also recalled that Senate Bill 181 or the law creating the Philippine Boxing Commission, was already untroduced as early as 2013.
Upon proddings of some legislators, it was now amended to include other combat sports.