MANILA, Philippines – Filipino lawmakers have filed a bill that will prohibit minors from participating in competitive full contact sports, including boxing, mixed martial arts, jiu jitsu, muay thai, and full contact karate.
Reps. Christopher Co and Rodel Batocabe of the Ako Bicol partylist said House Bill 3646 also seeks to regulate minors participating 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 in a statement released on Sunday.
Co said that regulating full contact sports will ensure that parents, guardians, schools and sports associations will be required to undertake the necessary protection for minors not only in their training place but also in their gear 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 said.
Under the measure, all minors shall be prohibited from competing in any full-contact sports competition. Sports organizations, associations or event organizers shall also be prohibited from conducting full-contact sports competitions that will be 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 will prohibit schools and sports education institutions from inviting and encouraging the participation of minors in full-contact sports competition.
Parents and guardians will also be prohibited from authorizing or consenting to the participation of minors in full-contact sports competitions.
The move comes after a 16-year-old high school student from Bulacan, Jonas Joshua Garcia, died after incurring brain injuries following a boxing match in the Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association meet in Iba, Zambales last December.
His death prompted Education Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali to study the possibility of excluding boxing and other contact sports from the Palarong Pambansa.
Batocabe said that a full physical examination as well as clearance from qualified doctors will be required of minors who are participating in regulated sports.
“The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and it is responsible for ensuring the promotion of their physical, moral, spiritual and social well-being,” Batocabe said.
A minor who is found guilty of participating in any full contact sports competition is prima facie that the parent, guardian, sports association, organization, event organizer, or school sports education institution permitted and consented to the participation of the minor.
They 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 third time offenders, a fine of P200,000 and/or closure of the establishment or both at the discretion of the court.
The Philippine Sports Commission and the Department of Education are directed to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations.