MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Monday approved on the third and final reading the Student-Athletes Protection Act, which seeks to regulate the policies governing the eligibility status of student-athletes in inter-school competitions, including the UAAP.
Senate Bill No. 2226 was approved with 15 affirmative votes, zero negative votes and zero abstention.
The measure proposes that "no residency requirement shall be imposed on a high school student-athlete transferring to another high school or to a college or university to encourage them to participate in sports competition."
College athletes who transfer from one college/university to another should only be required to undergo a maximum of one-year residency period.
The UAAP has imposed a controversial two-year residency rule on high school athletes who want to transfer to another UAAP-member school for college.
"One would think that student-athletes would have the pick of schools," Senator Pia Cayetano said in a statement. "But this is not the case for many of them, as their right to choose the school they want to study in is restricted by the residency rules imposed by the athletic associations."
The proposed legislation also prohibits schools from giving "commercial consideration" to any of its student-athletes or their immediate family members.
"Schools shall not offer a student-athlete or his immediately family members benefits or incentives beyond that enumerated under Section 5, which are contrary to the nature of amateur sports and which may result to the commercialization of a student-athlete," Cayetano said.
Currently, schools are allowed to give incentives to student-athletes including tuition, miscellaneous school feels, books and other learning materials, board and lodging, uniform, equipment, and reasonable living allowance, and other similar benefits.