Monday, February 3, 2014

Ako Bicol moves to prohibit minors from joining full-contract sports

Ako Bicol
Ako Bicol
Reps. Christopher Co and Rodel Batocabe of Ako Bicol partylist have filed a bill prohibiting the participation of minors in competitive full-contact sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts, jujitsu, muay thai, judo and various forms of full-contact karate.

House Bill 3646 also regulates their participation in leisure, non-competitive sports and in training.

"While acknowledging the importance and benefits and the values that can be derived from participating in these sports, the measure recognizes the paramount need to protect the minors," Co said.

Co said in regulating such sports, parents, guardians, schools and sports associations are required to undertake the necessary protection for the minors in the training place and in their gears and clothing.

"Such responsibility is imposed on parents, guardians, schools and sports associations because the minors are incapacitated to give consent nor can they waive any right of actions for injuries inflicted upon them during and in connection with such activities," Co stressed.

In December 2013, a 16-year-old high school student from Bulacan, Jonas Joshua Garcia who competed in the boxing match of the Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association in Iba, Zambales died after being comatose for days.

His death prompted Tonisito Umali, Assistant Education Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd) to study the possibility of excluding boxing and other contact sports like wrestling, wushu, arnis and taekwondo from the Palarong Pambansa, resulting from Garcia's accident.

Batocabe underscored that prior to participation of minors in regulated sports; physical examination and clearance by qualified doctors shall be required.

"The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and it is responsible for ensuring the promotion and protection of their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being," Batocabe said.

Under the measure, all minors shall be prohibited from competing in any full-contact sports competition. Sports organization, associations or event-organizers shall also be prohibited from conducting full-contact sports competitions participated in by minors.

Likewise, sports organizations, associations, or event organizers are prohibited from engaging the participation of minors in any full-contact sports competition.

The bill prohibits schools and sports education institutions from inviting and encouraging the participation of minors in a full-contact sports competition and parents or guardians are prohibited from authorizing or consenting to the participation of minors in a full-contact sports competition.

A minor who is found guilty of participating in any full contact sports competition is prima faciethat the parent, guardian, sports association, organization, event organizer, school sports educational institution permitted and consented to the participation of the minor, will be penalized with a fine of P50,000 for first time offense; P100,000 or revocation of business permit and license to operate or both for second time offenders and for the third offense, a fine of P200,000 or and closure of the establishment or both at the discretion of the court.

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Department of Education (DepEd) are directed to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations. (Congress Media Relations Service, Public Relations and Information Bureau)
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