Go, Pacquiao backs creation of Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission

The Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission aims to hone the talents of Filipino combat sports athletes and provide the necessary welfare incentives and benefits long overdue to all professional boxers and combatants who have brought honor and prestige to the Philippines.

On March 4, the Senate Committee on Sports led by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go held a public hearing for two Senate bills that seek to create a Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission.

Senate Bill Nos. 193 and 805 or An Act Creating the Philippine Boxing Commission and Combat Sports Commission were filed by Senator Manny Pacquiao and Senator Bong Revilla, respectively.

Senator Go as well as most representatives of relevant government agencies expressed support for the bills, including the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Department of Health (DOH), Pag-IBIG Fund, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). Representatives from the Muay Thai Association of the Philippines and Elorde Boxing also expressed support.

"I express my full support for the objectives of Senate Bill No. 193 and Senate Bill No. 805. These bills not only aim to strengthen and develop the quality of professional boxing and combat sports in the country but also ensure the protection and welfare of its athletes," Senator Go said.

However, representatives from the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), which regulates and supervises professional sports and allied activities in the country, and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) are against the creation of the new commission.

According to DBM, the creation of the proposed commission is unnecessary since its proposed functions, programs, projects and activities are already inherent or currently being undertaken by the different offices or units of the PSC and GAB.

Meanwhile, Senator Pacquiao stressed the importance of having a separate commission for boxers and other combat sports athletes. He explained that he is "not questioning the capability of GAB" and he understands the agency's position, but as a boxer for more than 25 years, he said that it is necessary to establish a commission to focus on the sport.

Pacquiao filed the same measure in the 17th Congress on June 30, 2016 and was then approved on third reading with 20 votes being in favor, 0 votes on against and abstention. However, the bill was not passed by the House of Representatives.

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