Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid has filed a bill seeking to strengthen the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) by providing a legal framework of its functions, powers and organizational structure to keep it attuned to the times.

lapid - Lapid seeks to modernize Games and Amusements Board
Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid

Since GAB’s creation in 1951,  Lapid noted that the agency has yet to adapt to new technological developments like off-site and online betting, live streaming and video recording of events in the various professional games and amusements.

The senator also said the GAB also needs to be attuned to the emergence of new games such as electronic sports or e-Sports, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and others which were not yet present during its establishment.

“Napakarami na ng pagbabago sa larangan ng sports sa ating bansa simula nang mabuo ang GAB kaya napapanahon na rin na silipin muli ang mandato ng ahensyang ito. (There have been so many changes in the field of sports in our country since GAB was formed, that’s why it’s high-time we review the agency’s mandate),” Lapid said in filing Senate Bill No. 1863.

“Tingnan natin ano ang mga pwedeng baguhin sa mga kasalukuyang probisyon ng batas na bumuo sa GAB (We need to check what needs to be changed in the current provisions of the law creating GAB),” Lapid stressed.

He said the measure aims to establish a legal framework with clear-cut and reasonable standards for GAB’s licensing and permitting activities and its role in specific sports and activities such as professional boxing and contact sports, horse racing, cockfighting, jail alai and other forms of amusement.

The measure also seeks to ensure that GAB will also act as a regulatory body for all professional sports with functions including the power to issue professional sports licenses to athletes,  and persons engaged in professional sports in the country.

The bill also aims to provide GAB the authority to issue permits to persons, entities or associations for the holding of professional sporting events, competitions or exhibitions.

Lapid also said the measure aims to grant the GAB quasi-judicial powers to resolve any controversy or dispute arising from the performance of its functions and implementation of the law.

The measure also seeks the establishment of the Athletes Welfare Fund for the benefit of professional athletes who sustain injuries or perish in the exercise of their profession.

The senator said the fund can also be utilized to provide immediate financial and medical assistance to deserving indigent athletes suffering from injuries and emergencies related to their profession.

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