A legislator has called for the creation of a combat sports commission to oversee the grant of welfare benefits and incentives to athletes in combat sports.
These athletes will include boxers, kickboxers, and mixed martial artists, among others.
Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, author of House Bill (HB) 9443, said the proposed Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission (PBCSC) will become the single agency to formulate, initiate, plan and implement a national policy for the growth of professional boxing and other combat sports in the country.
HB 9443 is now being consolidated with other similar bills by the joint technical working group (TWG) of the House committees on government reorganization and on games and amusements.
“The commission will be tasked to provide and implement the necessary incentives and benefits long overdue to all professional boxers and combat sports athletes who have brought honor and prestige to our country,” Villafuerte said.
“For all the accolades that our boxers and combatant champions bring, it is high time that their welfare is prioritized,” he added.
Villafuerte said under his bill, all professional boxers and combat sports athletes shall be enrolled with the Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or PAG-IBIG, and shall be entitled to all the benefits being offered by these state-run firms as provided under the law.
Boxers and other combat sports athletes will also be exempt from the payment of travel tax, airport tax, and any other travel-related taxes or fees if they are to compete in international competitions, as provided under Villafuerte’s measure.
Retired and injured boxers or combat sports athletes will likewise be given alternative livelihood programs under Villafuerte’s bill.
Villafuerte said that in his proposal, combat sports refer to boxing; fist fighting in any of its styles, kickboxing in any of its styles; and any sport, martial art, or activity that involves, following the applicable regulation, striking, kicking, hitting, grappling, throwing and/or punching opponents.
The joint TWG is still waiting for comments from the Department of Budget and Management about provisions on the funding of the proposed agency.