MANILA, Philippines – The UAAP's controversial two-year residency rule remains in effect this season after a Senate Bill that would have negated the rule was not passed into law in time.
"The (UAAP) Board has decided to retain the two-year residency requirement for this year," the league's legal counsel, Rene Villa, said on Monday during a press conference before the start of UAAP Season 77.
The Philippine Senate had approved on the third and final reading earlier this month Senate Bill No. 2226, or the "Students-Athletes Protection Act," which states that high school student-athletes transferring from one school to another should not be required to undergo residency.
Currently, the UAAP residency's rules require a high school athlete transferring from one member school to another for college to undergo a two-year residency period if he is not "released" by his original school.
"In so far as the so-called Senate Bill is concerned, our understanding is that a bill in the Senate needs to have a counterpart bill in the Lower House," Villa said.
"We understand that the good Sen. (Pia) Cayetano was able to have her version of the bill in the Senate passed. However, the bill is still pending in the Lower House," he added.
Villa further pointed out that there were some discrepancies between the two versions. "In the so-called counterpart bill in the Lower House, the provision is for a one-year residency requirement, but for the good senator, there are no residency requirements," he said.
"For the record, the UAAP went out of its way. The UAAP sent representatives to meet with the technical working group in the Senate, regarding the so-called bill on the Magna Carta of Student Athletes," Villa added.
Villa did say that the board is "moving towards some revisions in the future," but for now, the two-year residency rule stays.
"As for the opening of this season, Season 77, the are really not much changes with the Board retaining most of the rules, particularly the one on residency," he said.