Press Release
March 19, 2017

No need for a separate boxing commission
Drilon to Pacquiao: Heed GAB's advice

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said that boxing icon-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao should heed the views of the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) that there is no need to create a separate boxing commission.

"I do hope that Senator Pacquiao can lend an ear to the experts in sports development who have been in the forefront of protecting our professional athletes long before he became a boxing champ," Drilon said.

"In a deliberative body such as the Senate, we will be more effective as legislators if we keep an open mind to other ideas and proposals. Senator Pacquiao should not take it against me or the GAB if we express a different view about his proposed measure," he added.

The neophyte senator was recently grilled by the former Senate president and veteran member of the chamber over the former's proposal to create a separate boxing commission to oversee the welfare of Filipino professional boxers.

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

The minority leader said that he completely agrees with the recent statement made by GAB chairman Abraham Kahlil Mitra "that there is no necessity to create a separate boxing commission as reforms can be done to strengthen the boxing industry."

""Majority ng staff namin naka-focus lang sa boxing. One-third ng 150 staff ng GAB, sa boxing division naka-assign," said Mitra in an interview.

"No one has the monopoly of concern for our athletes. I care for our local boxers and other athletes the same way Senator Pacquiao and the men and women of the GAB care for them," Drilon said.

Drilon said he and the GAB acknowledged that additional protection should be given to local boxers.

But, Drilon stressed, "we can do that 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."

"Even if he refused to hear me out during my interpellation, I hope Senator Pacquiao heeds the call of the GAB, which is comprised of people who are very dedicated, hardworking and efficient in their jobs," he said.

Drilon said that Pacquiao's pet bill could stand some improvement.

"Nothing is cast in stone. There is no perfect bill. Every bill is expected to go through various stages of improvement and amendments. That is the essence of interpellation and debates," Drilon said.

"That is why as legislators we are expected to be prepared to defend our bills and have an open mind," he added.

Lastly, the seasoned lawmaker said he will seek to further strengthen the GAB to enable it to support and protect all Filipino professional athletes.

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