The Senate has approved the creation of a Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission that will promote the safety and welfare of Filipino boxers and combat sports athletes.
On Monday, September 10, with a vote of 20-0, the Senate approved Senate Bill No. 1306, also known as the Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission Act.
Sen. Manny Pacquiao, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Sports and author of S.B. 1306, said that the new sports body will ‘formulate and implement a national policy on the development, safety and welfare of Filipino professional boxers and combatants’.
“It is about time that these passionate athletes who bring honor to our country while risking their lives inside the ring be given due attention, proper aid and necessary support,” Pacquiao said in his sponsorship speech.
The commission will be composed of a chairperson and four board members, and will be placed under the administrative supervision of the Office of the President.
Senate Minority leader Franklin Drilon introduced an amendment that mandates 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.
S.B. 1306 defines combat sports as ‘any sport, martial art or activity that involves, in accordance to the applicable regulation, striking, kicking, hitting, grappling, throwing and or punching opponents’.
Under the bill, professional boxers and combatants will be enrolled in the Social Security System (SSS), the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), the Home Development Mutual Fund (PAGIBIG).
Pacquiao also said that the S.B. 1306 will also mandate physical and medical examinations, as well as emergency medical services, in all professional boxing and combat sports matches.
The bill also mandates the creation of alternate livelihood programs for retired or injured boxers and any 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.
Pacquiao further added that the Philippines has a huge potential in boxing and similar sports.
“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 added.