In the wake of proposed House Bill no. 1526 which seeks to ban minors from competing in martial arts, the 13 combat sports national sports associations have banded together to ensure that the safety of all their athletes, including minors, are their utmost priority.
In a statement penned by Muaythai Association of the Philippines secretary-general and Philippine Olympic Committee executive board member Pearl Managuelod, they stated that eliminating the grassroots programs of Philippine martial arts dampen the development and growth of the athletes.
The statement cited the likes of Kiyome Watanabe of Judo; Ariel Lee Lampacan of Muaythai; Eduard Folayang of MMA; Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno of boxing as martial artists who started at a young age before becoming world champions in their respective fields.
“We compliment the vigilance and dutifulness of our honorable congressmen. However, the combat sport NSAs, strongly oppose prohibiting minors from participating in combat sport competitions, whether full contact or semi-contact,” read the NSAs’ statement regarding the bill authored by Ako Bicol party-list representatives Alfredo Garbin Jr. and Elizaldy Co.
Also signing the counter statement were Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation president Miguel Zubiri, Philippine Pencak Silat Association president Princess Jacel Kiram, Samahang Kickboxing ng Pilipinas secretary-general Wharton Chan, Philippine Judo Federation president Dave Carter, Philippine Karatedo Federation president Richard Lim, Jiu-Jitsu Federation of the Philippines secretary-general Ferdie Agustin, Pilipinas Sambo Federation president Pietro Paolo Claudio, Philippine Taekwondo Association secretary-general Rocky Samson, Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines secretary-general Ed Picson, Wrestling Association of the Philippines president Alvin Aguilar, Philippine Fencing Association president Richard Gomez, and Wushu Federation of the Philippines president Julian Camacho.
- Strict adherence to safety tenets, which can only be assured of the technical officials in charge of competitions, is armed with proper training, knowledge, and experience in implementing stringent safety rules. These officials can only be provided by the NSAs recognized by the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission;
- Review the policies of Palarong Pambansa and make necessary amendments that streamline all sporting events from grassroots to elite levels. We call on our DepEd, POC, and PSC officials for unified policies and stricter implementation that outlines those concerned’ roles and responsibilities. DepEd may stick with organizing and supervising Palarong Pambansa but relinquish the officiating roles to the NSAs;
- Ensure strict adherence to IF rules on licensing of coaches, technical officials, and athletes by organizing committees;
- As an added safety measure, the stringent exercise of mandates by POCrecognized NSAs as the sole governing bodies of their respective sports must be enforced. All sporting competitions, whether by private or government entities, must be sanctioned by them. Tournament organizers not affiliated must get clearances from the NSAs;
- A bill to safeguard the youth athletes in both amateur and professional combat sports, which includes but not limited to anti-doping, regular medical checkups, rest period in between competitions, gender-based violence, harassment, trafficking, and technical and game rules updates;
To close, the group called for more support for our athletes as they have made sacrifices to bring honor to the country.
“We call on the continued support for our athletes, coaches, and sports stakeholders. Let us be united in upholding the fundamental principles of Olympism.”