A HOUSE lawmaker has called for the swift approval of a bill that will create a commission to support the growth of professional boxing and combat sports in the country.  

“For all the accolades that our boxers and combatant champions bring, it is high time that their welfare is prioritized,” said Camariñes Sur Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” F. Villafuerte, Jr. in a statement.  

Mr. Villafuerte is seeking for the House’s consideration and approval of House Bill 9443 or the proposed Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission Act.    

The proposed commission would be tasked to protect the welfare of combat sports athletes along with formulating and implementing a national policy for its growth and regulation in line with international standards.  

The measure would also mandate that matches can only be held if a practicing physician is present at ringside, ambulance services are available at the event venue, and if there is a nearby hospital.  

All professional boxers and combat sports athletes will also be automatically enrolled for government benefits such as social security and health insurance along with all related benefits provided under the law.  

They will also be exempted from paying travel-related taxes if they are competing in international events under the measure.    

The bill is pending in a technical working group with representatives from the House Committees on Government Reorganization and Games and Amusements.  

Mr. Villafuerte said that they are awaiting comments from the Department of Budget and Management on funding of the proposed commission. 

A counterpart bill in the Senate, filed by retired boxer and Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao, Sr., was passed on Sept. 20. — Russell Louis C. Ku