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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Villanueva rallies GAB to quash game-fixing in pro ranks; ‘Integrity in pro sports means jobs for athletes, sector’

Senator Joel Villanueva reiterated the importance of weeding out alleged game-fixing incidents in professional sports leagues, illustrating how integrity in sports could affect the lives of athletes and workers in the sports sector.

“Trabaho at kabuhayan ng ating mga atleta, coaches, support staff, at ng buong sektor ng sports ang nakasalalay dito. Any action that will cast doubt on the integrity of professional sports jeopardizes the livelihood of our athletes, coaches and support staff,” Villanueva said in a statement.

At the budget deliberations of the Games and Amusements Board on Monday afternoon, Villanueva sought updates on the board’s efforts to crackdown on alleged game-fixing incidents in professional sports leagues, particularly in the Vis-Min Super Cup a couple of months back.

“We were disgusted when we saw the video, and imagine my disappointment as a basketball player. I know for a fact that you are going to do something about it. It is challenging because you have to gather pieces of evidence … Even if you’re not a professional player, you could see in the video that there’s something wrong,” said Villanueva, chair of the Senate finance subcommittee deliberating the budgets of GAB and the Philippine Sports Commission.

For his part, GAB chairman Abraham Mitra shared that the board was in the final stages of its case buildup, vowing to file charges against individuals who had a hand in the incident, which first came to light on social media.

“Yes, we are doing something about it. We are going to file cases against them,” Mitra responded.

Villanueva also expressed commitment to source funds to enable the country to send delegations to international sporting competitions, citing the recent achievements of Filipino Olympians at the recently concluded Tokyo Summer Games where the country hauled four medals–the most by any Southeast Asian nation–including its first gold in nearly 100 years.

“Ipinakita po ng mga medalists natin sa Tokyo Olympics at sa iba’t ibang mga international sporting events kung gaano kahalaga ang sports development sa isang bansa. As a former national athlete myself, I have seen the power of sports to unify a nation,” he said.

“I hope that the budgets of our sports agencies next year will be an instrument to seek, train and support more athletes who will bring honor and glory to our country,” the lawmaker continued.

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