Dato Arroyo filed bill to create Philippine Boxing Academy (PHILBACA)

To sustain the country's ward of world boxing champions, a lawmaker is strongly urging the establishment of a boxing academy that will encourage young athletes to hone their skills in boxing to make them highly competitive in international and local competitions.

Rep. Diosdado Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur) filed House Bill 5224, which seeks to advance and develop the career of Filipino boxers both in the professional and amateur categories through the creation of the Philippine Boxing Academy (PHILBACA) under the Games and Amusement Board (GAB).

The bill, co-authored by Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga), envisions the PHILBACA to serve as a hub to identify and recruit boxing scholars to be trained and developed as amateur and professional athletes in the international boxing arena.

To be known as the Boxing Academy Act of 2011, the bill also seeks to conduct boxing tournaments on a year-round basis in various provinces in the country to promote professional boxing in the countryside. The tournament shall be open to all local aspiring boxers with the purpose of identifying local talents to be recruited as scholars to the academy.

Likewise, the bill mandates the Department of Education (DepEd) to require all public schools, state universities and colleges to offer or include in their physical education curriculum boxing fundamentals.

The Camarines Sur lawmaker sought the immediate passage of the bill saying "it is the policy of the State to enhance the skills of every aspiring boxer in the country through scientific method of training to sustain the standing of Filipino boxers as World Champions."

The bill requires the PHILBACA to provide amateur and professional athletes with training facilities, scientific training programs, proper health and nutrition to enhance their ability. 

Arroyo said the students of PHILBACA shall be provided assistance whenever they participate in internationally acclaimed boxing tournaments such as the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organization and International Boxing Federation. The PHILBACA will also prepare the students for their future local and international bouts, Arroyo added.

The PHILBACA shall be headed by an Academy Director who will be appointed for a term of three years by the GAB chairman. The PHILBACA shall also be appropriated the amount of P20 million for its initial operation upon the implementation of this Act, the bill states.

As provided under the bill, the PHILBACA board shall be composed of the Chairman of the GAB and the Philippine Sports Commission as Co-Chairman and four regular members to be appointed by the President. One of the four regular members shall come from the academe while the remaining three shall come from the private sector and shall have a reputable standing in the field of professional boxing. These members shall be nominated by the umbrella organization of the boxing community.

The bill likewise provides for responsible screening, admission and expulsion of erring scholars of PHILBACA in accordance with the guidelines set by the board.

According to Arroyo, since its inception in the 1900s the Philippine boxing has come a long way and the people have been witnesses to the rise of genuine Filipino talents in the field, one of whom is Saranggani Rep. Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao, a highly-acclaimed international boxer.

"The country has successfully produced a number of World Champions both in the professional and amateur boxing leagues making it more imperative to harness our efforts and resources in boxing," Arroyo said.

Besides Pacquiao, Arroyo also identified the other boxing legends as Francisco "Pancho Villa" Guilledo, Gabriel "Flash Elorde", Luisito Espinosa, Rolando Navarette, and Gerry Penalosa in the professional category and Jose Villanueva, Anthony Villanueva, Leopoldo Serrantes, Roel Velasco and Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco in the amateur level.

Other boxing greats mentioned by Arroyo were Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire, Brian "The Hawaiian Punch" Villoria, Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista, Florante "Little Pacquiao" Condes, Bernabe "Abe" Concepcion, Donnie "Ahas" Nietes, Drian "Gintong Kamao" Francisco, Rexon "The Pison" Flores, Rolly "Matsushita" Lunas, Z "The Dream" Gorres, and Alex John "Batang Ermita" Banal.

"They all helped the country to be recognized as a breeding ground for world champions. They made their names in the boxing league and have brought honor and glory to the Philippines," Arroyo said. 

"Given the continuing patronage and desire of our young athletes to get into the sport of boxing, and to sustain the country's recognition in boxing, we firmly believe that the government should support our aspiring boxers and this could be done through the creation of a boxers’ academy to help them excel and become world champions," Arroyo said.