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House bill seeks to ban minors from martial arts competitions

Two members from the House of Representatives have filed a bill seeking to ban “minors” from participating in martial arts competitions.

House Bill no. 1526, titled Banning Minors from Full-Contact Competitive Sports, is authored by Ako Bicol party list representatives Alfredo Garbin Jr. and Elizaldy Co. It seeks to prohibit the participation of Filipinos below the age of 18 in competitive full-contact sports.

“While acknowledging the importance, benefits, and values that can be derived from participating in these sports, this bill also recognizes the paramount need to protect the minors.

“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 action for injuries inflicted upon them during and in connection with such activities,” read the explanatory note of Garbin and Co.

The bill also penalizes parents, guardians, organizations, associations, and schools if a minor is found competing in a martial arts event.

For the first offense, a fine of P50,000 will be imposed, while the second offense will see a fine of P100,000 and a revocation of business permit. For the third offense, a tab of P200,000 will be handed and the closure of the establishment.

The two also sought “the swift passage of the bill.”

Classified under the full-contact sports are boxing, wushu, jiu-jitsu, muaythai, judo, karate, taekwondo, wrestling, arnis, kickboxing, and pencak silat.

The hearing for the bill is set on Wednesday with representatives from the 11 sports associations, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Department of Education, Department of Health, Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines, and National Academy of Sports asked to be present.

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Varsity leagues like the UAAP and NCAA have high school divisions for taekwondo, judo, and fencing.

Besides these, international competitions like the ASEAN School Games and Asian Youth Games have taekwondo, fencing, wushu, and pencak silat as events. Meanwhile, the Youth Olympics also has wrestling, boxing, fencing, judo, and karate.

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