THE Games and Amusements Board (GAB) and the Department of Health (DOH) have agreed to renew their partnership that would provide free medical assistance to ensure the overall health and welfare of professional Filipino boxers, MMA, and muay thai fighters amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The partnership will extend the validity of Administrative Order No. 2017-002, a joint agreement between the two government agencies aimed a providing help to the professional athletes under GAB.
Yesterday, the DOH, through Memorandum 2020-0445 signed by Secretary Francisco Duque III, approved the request of GAB to extend the validity of the agreement until December 31, 2020 or earlier should a new MOA shall come into effect.
“Relative to the expiration of the DOH-GAB MOA on August 25, 2020 and upon request of GAB due to the effects of COVID-19 pandemic to their professional careers, the 28 selected DOH hospitals, three specialty hospitals, and other pertinent DOH offices are directed to continue the provision of free medical services to boxing and MMA professionals,” declared Secretary Duque in said DOH Memorandum.
GAB Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra welcomed the decision of Sec. Duque to approve the GAB request.
“As the national agency tasked with the regulation and supervision of professional boxing and other contact sports in the country, we are grateful to DOH for this assistance,” said Mitra.
Pursuant to the existing requirements of GAB boxing and other contact sports division, combat sports athletes are required to undergo and pass a complete medical examination administered by GAB Medical Section, prior to approval or renewal of their boxing licenses.
“Considering that the mandatory diagnostic, medical, and neurological tests proved to be costly for many GAB licenses, this extension is indeed a big help to our pro boxers, MMA and muay thai fighters, especially during these difficult times, added Mitra.
Meanwhile, Mitra and Commissioners Ed Trinidad and Mar Masanguid also sought the assistance of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) last April to include professional boxers.