THE Games and Amusements Board (GAB) is working in all front in the service for Pilipino athletes considered as the country’s ‘unsung heroes’ while putting it trust on integrity, reliability and proactively to strengthen the development and program of professional sports and supervised games.
GAB Commissioner Mario ‘Mar’ Masanguid said that despite the current turmoil and economic recession brought by lockdown to prevent the spread of deadly COVID-19 virus, professional sports in slowly gaining its ground as more group, associations and sports organizers were turning pro and submitted their program under GAB supervision.
“Even before the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) memorandum, allowing the return of professional sports in basketball, football, combat sports, horseracing and cockfighting (sabong), several group such NBL, WNBL, 3×3 basketball and chess has turned pro sending a clear message that GAB is a working group,” said Masanguid during the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) Usapang Sports on Air liversteaming in facebook and Youtube on Thursday.
“Yung beach volleyball group nagpahatid na rin ng intention sa amin na magpo-pro na sila para sa kanilang program for 2021. Dumarami ang nagpapa-supervised sa GAB dahil nakita nil ana sila ang makikinabang sa mga program ana ginagawa namin sa pamumuno ni Chairman Baham Mitra,” added Masanguid.
For one, Masanguid said that GAB partnership with the Department of Health (DOH) resulting to free medical, laboratory, dental and neurological services for boxers, MMA and muay thai fighters. Ang during the lockdown, GAB sought the assistance of DSWD to include 1,524 professional boxers, MMA, Muay thai and their trainers, and ring officials in the AICS Program of DSWD where they receiving P3,000 to P5,000 cash and food packs.
“To ease the difficulty in renewing licenses and to reduce possible transmission of the virus in the workplace, we have adopted electronic governance mechanisms (i.e. Online pre-registration before going to the office, online application, telemedicine, among others). Before the pandemic, our professional athletes are required to visit our office in Makati to transact their license applications, now with the help of our IT Section and DICT, our license application and renewal can be made online;
“We have also a regular/ weekly online consultation with our stakeholders called ‘Kumustahan sa GAB’; the objective of this program is to help our pro athletes and trainers keep abreast of new rules and regulations related to Covid-19; and
we will be also holding a virtual Professional Sports Summit this coming December to assess the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on professional sports and to share best practices and health and safety protocols with our stakeholders,” said Masanguid in the forum supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), PAGCOR and the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
“Since 1950 and until now under the leadership of Chairman Mitra, narito ang GAB, nagtatrabaho para sa ating mga atleta. Mismong ang mga international boxing bodies, kinikilala yung mga programa ng GAB particular sa safety and secutiry ng ating mga boxers, kaya I think, hindi napapanahon at hindi na kailangan pa na magtayo ng hiwalay na boxing commission na dagdag lamang sa gastusin na gamitin nalamang sa pagsugpo sa COVID-19,” said Masanguid, pointing on Senator Manny Pacquiao Senate Bill No.193 and No.805 proposing the creation of Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission (PBCSC).
“While we really support Senator Pacquiao’s desire to advance the interest of Pinoy boxers and other combat sports pro athletes, this initiative to create a new government agency or office may not be a good move as we are facing a pandemic or unprecedented recession and all government resources and efforts are better to be redirected to solve these problems,” said Masanguid.
“We are talking about P150 million here. These public funds will be utilized to create a new government agency for the purpose of regulating three professional sports (boxing, MMA, and Muay Thai), while GAB, an existing agency since 1950 and with a P140, 598,000 budget allocation, regulates 13 professional sports and 2 activities related to amusements games (international derby and betting aspect of horse racing/ OTBS),” he said.
“Kinausap ko na ang butihing Senator Pacquiao, sabi ko sa kanya kung ano ang nakikita niyang pagkukulang sa GAB, aayusin namin. Open naman kami dyan at si Chairman Mitra ay talagang handa sa lahat ng suhestyon para mas maaayos ang GAB. So far, protektado ang ating mga boxers, kahit sa panahon ng pandemic, andyan ang GAB para magserbisyo,” claimed Masanguid.