House Bill 1526

FEEL THE GAME - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - December 11, 2020 - 12:00am

The standard for successful athletes is to start them young, see them develop and gain confidence, and when the time is right, join competitions.  They don’t win most of the time, experiencing the agony of defeat, but thru failures they learn and redo battle plans.Pain, hardships and injury are part of the training process, and then the thrill of victory finally comes.

I would assume that most of us had seen video clips of how China train their athletes. Children as young as 5-years old go through rigorous, borderline brutal training methods that they are seen crying yet continue to go thru the paces. All the pain and tears bore fruit as the Chinese athletes had become world-class.

We want to compete with the best in the world but we’re doing the soft approach.  On second thought, we could be among the world’s best in putting people in charge of crafting laws that often are more complicated than mid-life crisis.

And as to making laws, recently, a bill was filed in Congress seeking to ban athletes below 18-years old from competing in full contact combat sports. The bill defined full-contact sports as “any sport for which significant physical impact force, whether deliberate or incidental, on players is allowed for within the rules of the game.  It includes but not limited to boxing, mixed martial arts, Jiu jitsu, Muay Thai, judo and various forms of full-contact karate.”

The interpretation can also mean other sports involving contact with “significant physical impact” because it is not specific basing on the “includes but not limited to” part.  Basketball, the game the country loves so much can be included as well as football because, dammit, “significant physical impact” happens most of the time, with some deranged players making dangerous tackles.  Can the bill extend to these two popular sports?  And oh yes, you can get skewered in fencing.  Isn’t this sport dangerous too within the rules of the game?

Of course, the bill comes with a penal clause – punishing offending parents, guardians, organizations, associations and schools if a minor is proven to have competed in a martial arts tournament.  A fine of P50,000 will be imposed on first offenders, P100,000 and revocation of business permit for the second offense and P200,000 plus closure of the establishment for the third offense.

Enough noise had been generated with this proposed bill especially from the combat sports community and its stake holders. They have all the reasons to do so. They’re aware of the risks combat sports necessitates that some disciplines have protective gears more suitable for riot control. Consent from parents and medical forms are required prior to competitions.  

How can athletes’ talents and performances be identified and gauged if they can’t engage in tournaments?   An athlete’s true value is defined thru active participation.

There are merits to the proposed bill but it is more reactive than proactive.  Why not craft bills addressing the country’s power and utility problems, bills addressing disaster readiness, traffic and flooding in metropolitan areas or maybe bills giving really stiff penalties to government contractors for sub-standard projects? 

Let the sportsmen in congress do their thing regarding athletes’ welfare, unless we want our talented youth practice instead tong-its and mahjong.  The only full-contact you get is when someone is so demalas and the mahjong tiles go sky high. All up! Siete pares! Alay!



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