NOT everyone in the Senate is on Senator Manny Pacquiao’s side when it comes on the issue of creating a new Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission (PBCSC).
Multi-sports enthusiast Senator Pia Cayetano on Tuesday delivered a massive blow on Pacquaio’s proposal to establish a separate boxing commission, saying the P150 million proposed budget on this is unnecessary especially the country is facing an uphill battle to fight COVID-19 pandemic.
“In this time of COVID, is that the best use of ₱150 million? I’m asking his honor to reconsider what we can do with ₱150 million in this time of COVID. Vaccinations, safety protocols to allow children to go schools, and ayuda (aid),” the lady Solon said in her interpellation.
“Yes, I love the athletes… but I’d like that ₱150 million to be put to good use. Unless walang pondong kailangan dito, pero ibang usapan yun. We need to know,” said Cayetano.
Also, Cayetano, a former volleyball varsity player and triathlon advocate, said Pacquio’s PBCSC is a mere duplication on the services and responsibilities of the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) – the regulating body for professional sports including boxing and contact sports.
“We understand his honor’s sentiment and passion, pero we have to base our decision on facts kaya po ako humihinge ng facts kung saan kailangan ba ang bagong commission dahil may pagkukulang ang GAB? Saan ba nagkulang ang GAB kasi I want them accountable kung may pagkukulang sila,” added Cayetano in her interpellation on the Senate Bill No. 193 and Senate Bill No. 805 authored by Pacquiao.
Pacquiao claimed that GAB handles “too many sports,” hence, the needs for boxing and combat sports to have a separate commission that solely focus on its athletes’ plight.
The eight-division world champion said many of his fellow boxers were retired without getting any pension, while others died without getting any benefits.
But during public hearing on the said bill, several boxing and combat sports group such Muay Thai Federation headed by (Ret) Gen. Lucas Managuelod and Mixed Martial Arts Federation led by former wrestling champion Alvin Aguilar showed up against Pacquiao’s PBCSC.
GAB, under Chairman Abraham ‘Baham’ Mitra, meanwhile forwarded the agency’s position paper to the Senate Committee on Sports, stressing that the creation of a new government agency only led to the duplication of existing office and functions of the GAB.
“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.’ GAB also received one of the highest ratings from the Commission on Audit,” stated Mitra in GAB position paper.
Even the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) when asked to comment on the proposed bill, echoed the same sentiment.
“In View of the foregoing, we are constrained from supporting the proposed legislative measures since the government already has existing institutions and mechanism/system in Philippine Sports Commission and Games and Amusements Board relative to the regulation of sports, such as boxing,” said DBM Secretary Wendel E. Avisado.
“We deem it more prudent to first review/ reassess the existing functions, program, and project as well as organizational set up of the said agencies to identify and address gaps, weaknesses, or overlaps, if any, rather than establishing a separate agency for the purpose,” he added.”