PACMAN PUSHES PASSAGE OF PRO-BOXING, COMBAT SPORTS SUPERBODY
By Aquiles Z. Zonio
Thu, 04 Mar 2021
SENATE – THE passage of Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission (PBCSC) is beyond Manny Pacquiao as a sports icon.
It is for the future of every Filipino youth who aspires and strives hard to become a sports hero one day.
Barely a year after he assumed office in 2017, Sen. Manny Pacquiao authored Senate Bill No. 193, originally seeking for the creation of a superbody, the Philippine Boxing Commission (PBC), to promote and closely look after the welfare of professional Filipino boxers.
In the early stage, Sen. Pacquiao’s pet bill was virtually sailing through the rough seas even right at the plenary hall as some of his colleagues opposed its creation.
It almost brought Sen. Pacquiao at his wit’s end but his discipline, fighting spirit and faith sustained him through.
With the help of his fellow senators and ever hardworking legislative staff, the bill underwent several changes, revisions and refinements.
Thus, the inception of Senate Bill No. 2077, which was a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 193 and Senate Bill No. 805 filed by Sen. Ramon Bong Revilla Jr.
The Senate passed the bill when it was first introduced by Sen. Pacquiao during the 17th Congress but its counterpart bill at the Lower House hit a snag.
In his sponsorship speech delivered before the plenary hall on Wednesday, Pacquiao sought the support of his colleagues for the passage of Senate Bill No. 2077, claiming that the creation of a separate commission will provide stability and clear direction for professional boxing and combat sports.
In supporting the measure, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said “Mr. President, nakadaan na po ng 15-round boxing sa 17th Congress,” he said.
Zubiri even asked that he be made co-author of the bill “to show support to our compadre and Pambansang Kamao.”
Sen. Pacquiao hailed Zubiri and other fellow senators -- Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, including Senators Francis Tolentino, Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa and Panfilo Lacson – who all signified their desire to be made co-authors of the bill.
Sen. Pacquiao reminisced in his speech how he started boxing at the age of 12. He went through unimaginable hardships and sacrifices due to lack of government support.
“Marami sa kanila (fellow professional boxers) ang nagiging baldado, naghihirap, at namamatay,” Pacquiao bared.
Sen. Pacquiao said it is high time that these sports combatants who are risking their lives to bring honor to the country be given due attention, prompt financial succor and government support they so deserve.
“Inihalal ako ng taong bayan at inilagay sa posisyong ito kaya dapat lamang na tulungan ko ang kapwa kong mga boksingero at manlalaro ng combat sports upang mapabuti ang kanilang kalagayan habang ipinaglalaban ang karangalan ng ating bayan,” the senator said.
“Mr. President, this is my advocacy,” he declared.
Boxing is the only field of sports in the country where, many sports pundits believed, aspiring Filipino athletes have the big chance to excel.
Take the classic case of boxer-lawmaker Manny Pacquiao who made the Philippines known in almost every nook and cranny of the globe due to his unsurpassed ring exploits.
Manny Pacquiao did it then when government was only giving token if not lip service support to contact sports players. Pacquiao, however, is one in a million.
This time, Pacquiao wants vigorous and tangible support coming from the government for professional boxers and contact sports competitors.
Atty. Jojo Bondoc, head of Sen. Pacquiao’s legislative staff, claimed he expects a smooth passage of proposed measure at the Lower House as many of the lawmakers there pledged to adopt the Senate version of the proposed PBCSS.
If finally signed into law, the proposed PBCSC will be composed of a chairman and four members, and will be placed under the administrative supervision of the Office of the President.
Under the bill, professional boxers and contact sports combatants will be enrolled in the Social Security System (SSS), National Health Insurance Program-Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), and the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-ibig).
Aside from requiring physical and medical examinations in all professional boxing and combat sports tournaments, the bill mandates the provision of sustainable alternative livelihood support projects for retired or injured boxers and combatants.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Aquiles Z. Zonio.
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