FOR the sake of Filipino professional athletes, the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) is knocking on the door of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) — again.
In a letter to DSWD Sec. Rolando Joselito Bautista, dated May 24, GAB Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra requested that professional athletes, including boxers and combat sports fighters, be included in the Assistance to Individual in Crisis Situation (AICS) program of DSWD.
Mitra admitted pro boxers and combat sports fighters continue to suffer from loss of livelihood due to health and safety restrictions being imposed to curb the resurgence of the deadly coronavirus disease.
“While the government thru the IATF continues to gain ground in the battle against COVID-19, the professional sports community is hard-pressed to make both ends meet due to health and safety protocols,” said Mitra, referring to the plight of professional boxers, mixed martial arts fighters, ring officials and even matchmakers.
“With the active collaboration between the men and women of DSWD and GAB, the AICS program has resulted in the successful delivery of financial assistance to 889 GAB professional boxing licensee-beneficiaries all over the country; in the Luzon region; in the Visayan region particularly in Cebu; and in Mindanao region, more specifically in Cagayan de Oro, Davao and General Santos City,” said Mitra in his letter.
“May we then bring to you the hopes of those who received the first tranche of the financial assistance, who are once again reaching out to you, through GAB. They are hoping that through DSWD’s magnanimous support, they would be able to receive a second tranche of the IACS financial assistance, earnestly needed by them especially during this time of crisis.”
“Likewise, we are letting you know that there still remains, about 300 plus beneficiaries, from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, who are still waiting and have not yet received the previous AICS financial assistance, amounting ti P1,835,00.00, which would be needing again your attentive support and endorsement.”
Mitra claimed boxers and other pro athletes mostly depend on fights as a source of livelihood.
“Last year, nakapagbigay tayo ng tulong mula sa DSWD gayundin kay Senator Bong Go at sa ibang pang pribadong indibidwal. Sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon, unti-unti nakababalik na ang boxing pero mangilan-gilan pa lang ang mga promosyon kaya hirap ang ating mga boxers,” added the former dating Palawan Governor and Congressman.
“DSWD’s help will surely go a long way,” added Mitra.
Under Mitra and Commissioners Eduard Trinidad and Mar Masanguid, GAB is one of the top performing government agencies under the Office of the President based on the recent report of the Commission on Audit (COA).