March 23, 2023

Local professional boxers, Muay Thai, and mixed martial arts athletes are being lobbied to be part of the beneficiaries of the government’s social amelioration program.

Games and Amusement Board Chairman Abraham Kahlil Mitra, on April 1, wrote the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Social Welfare and Development seeking for assistance in behalf of the athletes listed under GAB.

“These individuals are unable to exercise their profession due to the community quarantine and hence are devoid of a source of income. The 5,000 to P8,000 amelioration program will help them survive these hard times in our nation’s history,” Mitra said in his letter.

A total of 1,133 athletes and their trainers are listed under GAB nationwide. These individuals include 805 boxers, 79 MMA fighters and 48 trainers, 32 Muay Thai practitioners and 12 trainers, and 157 boxing trainers and seconds.

“Approved na po ng DSWD, inaayos lang po ang final list and guidelines plus merong sariling bar code ang mga GAB licensees. Standby lang po for details,” he assured the athletes and trainers.

Highland Baguio-Benguet Stable Chairman Brico Santig said they are thankful for the action done by the GAB in behalf of professional athletes.

“This is a big help for our boxers, especially for their families, in this way they could be able to eat while going through quarantine,” said Santig, whose stable is located in La Trinidad, Benguet.

The Benguet Highland Stable has 15 boxers under GAB including Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Renalyn Dacquel of Abra. It also has four trainers with Santig as the matchmaker as part of the GAB.

The stable also has a branch in Sampaloc, Manila having 17 boxers, nine trainers, and one matchmaker. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Santig said his promotion has 20 fights, mostly international, which were either postponed or cancelled including the April 25 title fight of Marco Rementizo against Thailand’s undefeated Chayaphon Moonsri, the latter defending his World Boxing Council minimum weight world title in Indio, California.

Meanwhile, Team Lakay Chairman Mark Sangiao is also currently following up the status of his athletes on who will qualify for the amelioration program.

The Luzonwide enhanced community quarantine has prevented the mounting of various sporting events in and out of the country, which is primarily the bread and butter of professional athletes, their trainers, and coaches. – Ofelia C. Empian