5 sports bills approved at the House, sent to Senate

Pole vaulter EJ Obiena. (Photo by Philippine Olympic Committee)

Five sports bills approved on third reading at the House of Representatives are now with the Senate, including House Bill 8495, which provides for Philippine Sports Commission vouchers for grassroots athletes and sports organizations.

These bills, in the long term, boost the grassroots programs for future Gilas Pilipinas players, Pinoy world-class athletes like EJ Obiena, and other future national athletes of the PSC and national sports associations.

HB 8495 has a Senate counterpart bill, Senate Bill 2094, filed by Senator Mark Villar. The other House bills (HB 8468, HB 8466, HB 8268, HB 8390) also have their respective Senate counterparts “boosting the prospects of the House bills toward becoming laws,” according to Congressman Alfred Delos Santos.

“This batch of sports bills is our clear signal to the sports sector of Congress support to them. The sports vouchers bill, in particular, is essentially a form of government subsidy to athletes and groups whose activities are well-aligned with the PSC and national sports associations’ grassroots sports programs,” House deputy majority leader Alfred Delos Santos said.

HB 8495 and SB 2094 create three program funds: Get Started Fund, Get Going Fund, and Get Playing Fund. These bills also set grantee and provider eligibility criteria and conditions for using the vouchers.

“In the sports vouchers bill, we leave it to the Philippine Sports Commission to propose to Congress the level of funding they can allocate to implement the specific voucher provisions. It will be up to the collective wisdom of Congress on whether we can increase the allocation PSC will present,” the Ang Probinsyano Party-list congressman also said.