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List of Articles by Lito delos Reyes

PBC doesn’t guarantee efficiency on professional boxing says GAB Chairman

By Lito delos Reyes
23 Mar 2017

DAVAO CITY -- The creation of the Philippine Boxing Commission, which is being proposed by Sen. Manny Pacquiao “purposely to focus on boxing does not guarantee efficiency” according to Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham Kahlil “Baham” Mitra.

“Indeed, it's leadership and good governance that will ultimately give answers to the current issues in boxing,” said Mitra during a dialogue with the Mindanao stakeholders of professional boxing held recently in Davao City.

“I am grateful that GAB's efforts on improving the boxing profession under my leadership is being recognized, and we would like to institutionalize these initiatives (plus more changes to come) by lobbying to Congress on the fast passage of the bill on strengthening GAB authored by Reps Rodel Batocabe and Winnie Castelo,” said Mitra, a former representative and governor of Puerto Princesa City and Palawan.

Mitra said “the bill (on strengthening GAB) is very comprehensive in addressing the current concerns of the different sports particularly boxing.”

“The bill also ensures that even if the leadership changes, the law is in place to protect our professional players (not only in boxing but also in other sports under GAB's jurisdiction),” said Mitra.

“The fear of weak leadership after my term can also be a problem of the PBC if created. There's no assurance of quality leadership in every institution. Thus, the move to strengthen GAB thru legislation instead of creating a PBC, to my mind, is more sound,” said Mitra.

Pacquiao’s proposed Senate Bill No. 1306 seeks for the creation of PBC which needs a budget of P150 million.

PBC is proposing to source it from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).

“But on record sa committee hearing, Pagcor said they don't have money for it and also PCSO under their charter can only give funds for charity,” said Mitra.

GAB, which has 1/3 of its employees in boxing, only has P80 million.

“For the longest time, ngayon lang naging P100 million pag pasok ko,” said Mitra.

Meanwhile, Aristeo “Putch” Puyat, dubbed as the “Godfather of Philippine billiards” said that Pacquiao’s proposed bill is a “clear case of favoritism”.

“Why focus on boxing where our boxers are doing so well. We have so many world champions like Manny. What about other sports? If at all we have to strengthen GAB so they can be more effective in their mandate,” said Puyat in his Facebook.

Puyat has helped develop billiard hall of famers like Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante. Through Puyat Sports, his family company that operates several bowling and billiards centers in the country, Puyat helped elevate billiards from a game usually associated with students skipping classes and drinking brawls to a legitimate sport.

Mitra, however, thinks that Pacquiao’s bill will be approved.
"I’m sure the bill will be approved because Sen. Pacquiao has the numbers. I’m a bit sad that it will happen during my time with GAB because I think we can do a lot more for boxing given the opportunity,” said Mitra.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier asked Pacquiao to heed the views of the GAB and hopes the senator “can lend an ear” to the experts in sports development who have been in the forefront of protecting the country’s professional athletes “long before he became a boxing champ.”

Drilon also interpellated Pacquiao on his bill and told him to “keep an open mind to other ideas and proposals”. He also said that Pacquiao should not take it against him or the GAB if they express a different view about his proposed measure.

Drilon said that there is no need for another commission as reforms can be implemented within the GAB, which currently handles at least 22 various professional sports.

Drilon said he and the GAB acknowledged that additional protection should be given to local boxers, but that has to be done “in a manner that is consistent with our laws, in a manner that is fair to all professional athletes and not only the boxers, and most importantly, in a manner that will not unnecessarily bloat the bureaucracy.” -- LITO DELOS REYES

Photo: GAB Chairman Baham Mitra (extreme right) speaks during the dialogue with Mindanao stakeholders in Davao City last March 21. Beside him are Commissioners Eduard Trinidad (middle) and Fritz Gaston. (Photo by LDR).

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