The Senate has thoughtlessly and unnecessarily rushed the passage of Senate Bill 1306 to establish a “Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission.”
We can understand the enthusiasm of the senators for the measure, which is authored and sponsored by Sen. Manny Pacquiao. We see that they all want to be on the good side of our boxing icon. The senators approved the bill with 20 affirmative votes, no negative vote and zero abstention.
The setup is like the disastrous selection of Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, Jr. as president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC). They made a big deal out of his being voted by acclamation by the POC assembly. He then stayed and stayed for three four-year terms, and insisted on getting a fourth term for himself.
Philippine sports has known of manufactured electoral majorities, not entrust its future to a poorly written law.
If the Senate bill is enacted into law with the approval by the House of Representatives of a similar bill, what will emerge is a redundancy and a conundrum in national sports.
The boxing/combat sports commission that the law is bound to create will be a superfluity. It will be one-eyed and incapable of advancing the nation’s aspiration for the full development and nurture of all sports and all athletes in the country.
In registering their unanimous approval of the bill, the country’s senators exhibited remarkable ignorance that the Congress already passed Republic Act 6847 on Jan. 24, 1990. This law created and established the still-alive-and-kicking Philippine Sports Commission, whose mandate is to develop Philippine sports in all its many disciplines and competition-worthy athletes across the board.
What will happen to the PSC when the boxing/ combat sports commission is authorized and created? Will one give way to the other? Will the two agencies split between them public funding for sports?
It also strikes us as odd that the Senate ignored the Philippine Olympic Committee, which is headed by a president, Ricky Vargas, who happens to be the head of the National Sports Association (NSA) for boxing. Is Senate bill 1306 intended as criticism of the POC for failing to land a single gold medal in boxing in the recent Asian games in Indonesia?
The consequent conundrum is the result of lawmaking that has been hatched without enough study, consultation, deliberation and debate. Did the Senate sports committee consult with other boxing leaders and sports stakeholders before recommending this measure?
The bill has not been subjected to questioning. We fear that the approving senators do not know enough about the national sports situation to come up with a sensible sports law. We doubt whether anyone among the senators, the Senate president included, would dare to answer questions about the boxing-combat sports commission before the national sports community and the media.
It is commendable that Senator Pacquiao is doing his utmost to steer the passage of his first bill as a senator, and that he is doing this for the sport he loves most.
It is reasonable to dream of another Pacquiao rising on the horizon to follow in the footsteps of our greatest sportsman.
But the way to find a successor or successors is through a sensible, strategic sports development program. Establishing a boxing commission is like cramming for an examination. It doesn’t pay to overlook issues or quest-ions. You could fail.