MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Manny Pacquiao offered his own money to help set up his proposed Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission after he failed to convince Sen.Pia Cayetano on the need to spend P150 million for its establishment.
“To shorten the discussion about the budget, it’s not going to be a problem anymore…[it’s the] prerogative of the DBM [Department of Budget and Management]. If the DBM will give P100,000 then so be it.
I can help the commission to establish offices,” Pacquiao said, speaking partly in Filipino, during Wednesday’s plenary session as Cayetano continued interpellating him on Senate Bill No. 2077, which the boxer-turned-politician was sponsoring.
“Now, if it gets passed and DBM gives it a budget of P100,000, I will give even my own money, as much as I can afford, to help establish the Philippines Boxing [and Combat Sports Commission],“ he said.
“I will spend my money. I will set up offices in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao for our Philippine Boxing Commission,” he added.
Before this, Cayetano repeatedly questioned the need for a separate commission focusing on boxers when there was already the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
“It is a duplication,” she said. “It is irresponsible for us to put in fundings for another agency when we cannot even say this other agency (GAB) did not perform its job well.”
But Pacquiao insisted that the proposed commission’s mandate and functions would be different from those already being performed by GAB.
“GAB is only regulatory and supervises giving licenses. But the function of the commission that I proposed in this measure is to look out for and help the welfare of athletes until their retirement,” he added.
Meanwhile, Cayetano expressed misgivings about spending P150 million during the COVID-19 pandemic to establish a boxing commission.
“The funding that his honor [Pacquiao] is asking for is not, will not even directly go into the athletes. This is for the creation of offices,” she said.
Nevertheless, Cayetano was warm to the idea of funding the proposed commission privately instead of using public funds, noting that boxing commissions in many other countries were privately funded.
“The creation of a new office is an unnecessary expense at this time, but I would like to honor his honor’s desire to help the athletes whose sport he also loves by supporting his private fund,” Cayetano said.
“I will ensure that these people on the floor contribute,” she added in jest.
She was referring to Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Joel Villanueva.
“To end, I support that move for a privately-funded commission,” Cayetano added.
She then terminated her interpellation on Pacquiao’s bill.