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Mitra: GAB to pursue proactive program

  • Written by Ed Andaya
  • Published in Other Sports
  • Read: 438

THE Games and Amusement Board (GAB) will not rest on its laurels and continue to pursue a proactive
program to fulfill its mandate under Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra. 

“The athletes’ welfare will continue to be foremost on our minds, even  though we (GAB) are
a  regulatory  body in all games and amusement,” said Mitra during a meeting with  officers of  
the newly-organized  Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) recently.

Mitra made the assurance even as GAB continues to receive accolades from both the public
and private sector several months after the World Boxing Council  (WBC)  bestowed  the prestigious
“Commission of the Year” award to GAB during its 55th  WBC Convention in Baku, Azerbaijan last year.
    
“It’s truly a big honor to our country and GAB to be honored by the WBC and chosen as
“Commission of the Year” in Azerbaijan last year,”  said Mitra, a three-time Palawan  congressman
who was personally tapped by President Duterte to head the government agency.
    
But Mitra, the son of the late House Speaker Ramon Mitra, said the award  will only spur
the GAB  to perform even better to fulfill its mandate.
    
“The WBC award will only serve as an inspiration for GAB to do even better,  perform even
better. We have a job to do.and we are determined to pursue regardless of few criticisms being
hurled against us,” explained Mitra, who takes pride in his accomplishments despite taking over the
position for less than two years.
    
Mitra admitted the  job  is only halfway done.
    
“Before GAB is associated only in the PBA and boxing. Not anymore. Ngayon,  madami na rin
bagong pumapasok sa amin, like football and e-games. Right now, kinakausap na  rin namin ang mga
volleyball leagues  like the PSL and PVL,” claimed Mitra.
    
Mitra also said the  GAB Legal Department has already sought the  opinion of  the  Office
of the Solicitor General, headed by Jose Calida, on the  issue of   proliferation of  online  
sabong.
    
“Hopefully, maayos na din  namin agad yun dapat ayusin sa on-line betting ng sabong.”
    
Mitra said if athletes are not playing for flag and country, they are technically under
GAB.
    
“Although, maliit lang ang opisina ng GAB compare  to other government agencies, malaki ang
role namin para tiyakin ang welfare ng ating mga professional athletes,” said Mitra while thanking
Sen. Loren Legarda  and Congressman Prospero Nograles for helping raise the budget of GAB.
    
Mitra revealed  game-fixing and mismatches in boxing remain a cause of concern in his
agency.
    
“Yung game-fixing at mismatches sa boxing na matagal nang problema natin, lahat ‘yan
inaayos natin with the help of the right people, including commissioners Ed Trinidad and Mar Masanguid."
    
“We are in constant dialogues with boxing promoters,  managers and matchmakers  to help  
solve the problem. Sila din naman ayaw ng mga mismatches, although nay iilan pa din na
nagtatangkang magpalusot.”
    
On the welfare of the boxers and other pro athletes under GAB, Mitra said he  has already
finalized an agreement with the Department of Health (DoH)  to provide free medical assistance  
under the GAB-Department of Health Medical Licensing Assistance Program.
    
“From CT Scan to drug testing,  all our boxers can avail of this privilege through this GAB-DoH program.”
    
“Even the most progressive countries in the world, hindi nagbibigay ng libreng medical sa
mga fighters. Tayo lang.”