By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
A measure seeking to grant national athletes with automatic civil service eligibility was recently filed in the House of Representatives.
Iligan City Rep. Frederick Siao, chair of the House Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation, said athletes and other sports professionals have “made sports their occupation and for this reason, they all deserve to be formally recognized in our laws as sports professionals.”
“Our athletes, players, coaches, instructors, officials, and fitness trainers have devoted their lives to sports as their careers,” said Siao.
Siao has proposed an “automatic license and professional civil service eligibility” for sports players who win international competitions recognized by the world sports governing bodies, such as the Southeast Asian Games, the Asian Games, world championships, and Olympic qualifying tournaments.”
Siao noted that based in the International Labor Office (ILO) International Standard of Classification of Occupations (ISCO-08), sports professionals and associates are defined and recognized.
He said “licensing and certifying” the various sports occupations in an integrated profession would be a step forward in the right direction in terms of ensuring proper compensation and benefits, civil service eligibility, career stability, professional growth, and retirement.
Siao said under a professional regulatory board for sports, there would be key roles for the Philippine Sports Commission and the Games and Amusement Board, which are the agencies regulating the conduct of amateur and professional sports events.
“With this sports professionals’ board, license, and certifications or ratings, the footballers, swimmers, boxers, chess players, and dancers, for example, would have a common licensing system which gives each one of them, according to their expertise level,” said Siao.
“The dignified legal recognition of their expertise and would entitle them to benefit from standards as regards working conditions, health benefits, compensation, and retirement benefits,” he added.