The House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading House Bill No. 8910 which seeks to strengthen the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).

HB 8910, principally authored by Reps. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), Strike Revilla (2nd District, Cavite), and the late Rodel Batocabe (Party-list, AKO BICOL), received 185 positive votes from the legislators.

HB 8910 received 185 positive votes from the legislators.

The bill seeks to strengthen the powers and functions of the GAB, giving it quasi-judicial powers to hear and decide on any matter, controversy, or dispute, as well as promulgate the rules of procedure for the speedy disposition of cases.

The GAB shall comprise a chairperson and two commissioners to be appointed by the incumbent President of the Philippines. The former shall act as the executive officer, who will manage the day-to-day operations of the agency.

The bill provides that the GAB, as a collegial body, shall undertake the rule-making power, which makes it a policy making body. It shall have the authority to promulgate rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of the proposed Act and the accomplishment of its purposes and objectives.

In addition, the agency shall also have quasi-judicial powers that will allow the GAB to hear and decide on issues arising from the measure, including the authority (a) to promulgate rules of procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, (b) designate any of its officers to conduct the hearing or investigation of any cases, (c) to summon parties, issue subpoena, or require the production of all documents necessary for the just determination and adjudication of any matter under investigation, (d) to impose administrative sanctions and fines, and (e) to grant requests for provisional remedies.

The GAB shall further have powers and duties over all professional sports and athletes, including the following: (a) supervise and regulate all professional sports including training exhibitions; (b) enforce all laws, decrees, executive orders, rules and regulations relating to professional sports; (c) issue professional sports licenses; (d) help in the preservation of Filipino martial arts; (e) supervise the conduct of sports officials; (f) issue permits for the holding of professional sports; and (g) prescribe minimum standards for contracts between professional athletes and their managers, among others.

The measure stipulates that all professional athletes, sports officials, and individuals connected with professional sports shall be required to first obtain the appropriate professional license from the GAB, regardless of nationality and residence, whether on a regular, seasonal or one-time basis.

Associations shall also be prohibited from employing and entering into a contract with any professional athlete or sports official for the conduct of professional sports without having been duly licensed by the agency.

Associations shall also be prohibited from employing and entering into a contract with any professional athlete or sports official without having been duly licensed by GAB.

The GAB shall prescribe the qualifications and requisites for the license application. All professional athletes shall further be examined by a physician to certify the applicant’s physical and mental fitness for competition before the license is granted.

Meanwhile, to ensure the safety and welfare of licensees, the agency may require them to secure from the GAB an authority or clearance to travel and compete abroad.

Likewise, any person, entity or association shall not be allowed to conduct professional sports with the duly issued permit.

The measure provides that those conducting professional sports shall set aside and remit to the GAB three percent of their gross gate receipts and income.

It also specifies that the GAB shall supervise and regulate the following sports and amusement games: (a) professional sports; (b) professional boxing and other contact sports; (c) horseracing; (d) cockfighting; and (e) jai-alai, among others.

An Athletes’ Welfare Fund shall be established and managed by the agency for the benefit of athletes who sustain injuries or die in the exercise of their profession, or other cases as the GAB may deem fit. While the Fund shall be constituted from one percent of the agency’s entire receipts and income, it may also come from donations, endowments, or contributions.

The GAB shall also develop a program for immediate financial and medical assistance to deserving indigent athletes suffering from injuries and emergencies related to their profession.

There shall be an Enforcement and Investigation Division that shall combat and prevent the existence and proliferation of illegal forms of organized gambling in professional sports and amusement games.

Additionally, an Anti-Illegal Gambling Unit (AIGU) shall also be created under the agency, which may request operational assistance from other government agencies involved in gaming operations or law enforcement.


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