A leader of the House of Representatives proposed to grant civil service eligibility to the country’s career athletes, coaches, trainers, and officials by recognizing them as full-fledged and licensed professionals.
In a statement, Iligan City Rep. Frederick Siao, chair of the House Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation, said athletes, players, coaches, instructors, and fitness trainers should be recognized and licensed as full-fledged professionals with all the privileges, benefits, and civil service eligibility commensurate to their different levels of expertise.
“While watching the SEA Games, I had this flash of inspiration kindled by what I witnessed. Our athletes, players, coaches, instructors, officials, and fitness trainers have devoted their lives to sports as their careers,” Siao said.
“In truth and reality, they have made sports their occupation and for this reason, they all deserve to be formally recognized in our laws as sports professionals,” he added.
Siao cited the International Labor Office (ILO) Standard of Classification of Occupations, which recognizes and defines sports professionals and associates.
“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.
The lawmaker suggested the creation of a professional regulatory board for the sports and allied professions, with athletes, coaches, fitness trainers, referees, and sports officials as the core groups.
Meanwhile, allied professionals in the health and teaching professions can also gain a second license for specialized work dealing with athletes’ health and education needs, he noted.
“In this 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. I am open to suggestions from the PSC on how they would want to be involved in the licensing and certification of the sports professionals,” he said.
“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, 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.
He also suggested granting an automatic license and professional civil service eligibility for 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.
“I believe this unified system for the formal licensing of sports professionals is one of the key missing pieces in our country’s sports programs. When implemented nationwide, this profession licensing would benefit all those many athletes who labor in the thousands of gyms and fitness centers scattered all over the country,” he added. (PNA)