Senate approves student-athletes’ residency bill

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philippine-senate-logoMANILA, 3June2014 (PNA) -– The Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading a bill protecting the student-athletes from commercialization and residency requirement being imposed by the school athletic associations.

Voting 15-0 with no abstention, the senators approved Senate Bill 2226 or Student-Athletes Protection Act of 2014 which prohibits athletic associations from imposing residency requirement to high school student-athletes transferring from another high school or to a college or university.

Under the bill, the athletic school associations can impose residency requirement only for tertiary athletes transferring from one college or university to another but for “a maximum period of one year only.”

”The Student-Athlete shall be free from any act of restriction or punishment by the old and/or the new school due to his transfer from the former to the latter,” stated in the bill, a substitution to SBs 1252 and 2166 filed by Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Pia Cayetano and Cynthia Villar.

The bill also prohibits schools from offering ‘commercial consideration’ to the student-athletes and to their immediate family members.

The schools are allowed to only offer free tuition fee with board and lodging, uniform and equipment, and reasonable living allowance in accordance with implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

Cayetano filed the bill amid the controversial two-year residency rule imposed by University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) to student-athletes transferring from high school team to college.

Mikee Bartolome, a swimmer-student who graduated from University of Sto. Tomas (UST) high school, defied the residency rule through legal means.

Bartolome got court injunction and was able to swim and won gold medal for the University of the Philippines (UP) college swimming team in the last UAAP season but some schools, including UST, boycotted the event.

Cayetano criticized the boycott which, she said, “was instigated by certain school officials in support of the UAAP Board’s brazen refusal to abide by the court rulings.”

“There’s nothing to gain from the boycott except to send the message that the UAAP is too high and too proud to take orders from anyone, including from our honorable courts, even if they trample on the rights of student-athletes,” Cayetano said. (PNA)

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