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Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez said he prefers that the controversial Congress bill seeking to ban minors from competing in combat sports be amended instead of fully junking it, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

"Hindi mali yung banning. Yun lang, sabi ko, 'I-amend na lang yun,' (The banning itself is not wrong. It is just that I told them, 'Just amend it instead')" Ramirez said in an online press conference.

However, he admitted that the said bill was a "wake-up call" within the agency, indicating that they have been lax regarding sanctions among amateur sports officials.

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He was present during the first hearing about House Bill 1526, or "An Act Banning Minors from Full-Contact Competitive Sports" authored by Reps. Alfredo Garbin and Elizaldy Co of Ako Bicol Party List.

The said bill met serious opposition from 13 national sports associations (NSA's) which cater to combat sports, saying that the bill could hamper grassroots development among future martial artists.

"We are supposed to be preparing for the Olympics, the largest sporting event for the world, pero iisipin pa natin na may bill na aalisin yung mga (but we are still thinking that there is a bill that would take out) grassroot movements," Wrestling Association of the Philippines president and Universal Reality Combat Championship founder Alvin Aguilar said on Thursday during the Usapang Sports forum by the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports.

"We are really opposing this proposal. But we can work hand in hand to work on this. Sana makapag-usap ang lahat at makuha ang aming mga opinion tungkol dito. Pare-pareho tayong ang gusto ay ang safety ng mga bata (I wish everyone will talk to use and get our opinion about it. We all want safety for the children)," added Karate Pilipinas president Richard Lim.

However, contrary to what Aguilar said, Ramirez claimed that most of the combat sports NSA's do not have a "genuine grassroots program".

"You cannot call it a grassroots sports program kung wala kang (if you do not have a) collaboration with the PSC, DepEd (Department of Education), DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), CHED (Commission on Higher Education), armed forces, DOH (Department of Health), etc.," he added, citing that one must need manpower, expertise, and a huge sum of money.

He then insisted that what these NSA's are doing are minor programs within a certain community.


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