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Rep. Chiqui Roa-Puno urges probe on sale of WADA-banned substances

In the wake of Kiefer Ravena’s suspension by the International Basketball Federation, Antipolo Representative Chiqui Roa-Puno has called for a congressional investigation into the implementation of the existing laws, rules and regulations governing the sale of dietary supplements containing substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for sports competitions.

House Resolution 1915 underscores the need to educate athletes, coaches, team managers, health professionals, and other concerned stakeholders on WADA-prohibited substances and current anti-doping regulations, especially in identifying prohibited substances to avoid inadvertent consumption.

As Vice Chairman of the Youth and Sports Committee, Roa-Puno immediately called for the probe after cager Kiefer Ravena was found positive for a WADA-prohibited substance as a result of a random drug test by FIBA officials after a game between Gilas Pilipinas and Japan last February 25, 2018.

Last Monday, Ravena related how he took a pre-workout drink he bought over the counter after he ran out of his usual dietary supplement. He said he had no intention of violating the rules under the World Anti-Doping Code as he was unaware that the drink contained WADA-banned substances.

A WADA-accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada found that Ravena’s tests showed the presence of three banned substances — 4-methylhexan-2-amine, 1,3-dimethylbutylamine, and higenamine. None of these substances are prohibited under Philippine laws.

Even FIBA acknowledged that Ravena had committed an “honest mistake” but imposed sanctions nonetheless for his having violated WADA’s anti-doping rules.

“WADA’s rules, as well as the agency’s list of banned substances are universally recognized and accepted but not necessarily widely-known,” Roa-Puno said. “With proper implementation and education, we can effectively prevent our athletes, like Ravena, from unknowingly ingesting prohibited substances which could adversely affect their health and result in their ineligibility to play in their respective sports.

“We should ensure that our athletes, their coaches, managers, and health professionals are cognizant of the current anti-doping codes, and can readily identify rohibited substances in order avoid their unintended consumption,” she added.

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Roa-Puno noted that although some of the banned substances under the WADA Code are not necessarily illegal substances under Philippine law, we need to ensure that anti-doping rules are implemented, and medications and supplements being sold are properly and distinctly labeled.

She said the proper labeling should include the listing of all ingredients, as required under the laws.

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