The House of Representatives ratified the consolidated bill’s version during the last session day of the Congress on June 10, 2015 after its approval at the bicameral conference committee level.
The bill will then be transmitted to Malacanang for the President’s signature.
Deputy Speaker Roberto Puno, who filed the counterpart version of the bill in the House of Representatives, hailed the passage of the measure, known as the Student-Athletes Protection Act.”
“Too often the fierceness of sports competition drives schools, alumni and sometimes the students and their parents themselves to forget the primacy of education and prioritize winning instead, prompting them to resort to practices that are grossly unfair to our student-athletes. This measure aims to protect our student athletes from such practices,” Puno said.
The measure, which now bars athletic associations from imposing a two-year residency rule on student athletes, was initiated by Senator Pia Cayetano, who was the bill’s primary author in the Senate.
Instead of a two-year residency rule, the Student-Athletes Protection Act now requires athletic associations to impose a maximum one-year stay on a college student athlete transferring from one college or university to another before he or she could participate and represent a school in sports events.
Under the measure, no residency requirement shall be imposed on a student-athlete who is a high school graduate entering a college or university. For high school student athletes transferring to another high school, athletic associations may impose a maximum residency of one year to address the issue of piracy.
“These residency rules also apply to Filipino student-athletes from other countries enrolling in a school in the Philippines. However, these rules are without prejudice to the respective rules of athletic associations on student athletes who are foreign imports,” Puno said.
The proposed Act also bars educational institutions from imposing penalties, such as the filing of administrative charges on, and withholding or delaying the release of grades of, student-athletes who choose to transfer from one school to another.
Giving incomplete grades in subjects in which the student is exempted by virtue of being a student-athlete is also prohibited under the Act.
Schools are also barred from requiring student-athletes to return the tuition and other monetary benefits covered by their athletic scholarships if they transfer to other schools.
In terms of incentives, the measure allows the grant to student-athletes of the following benefits: free tuition and miscellaneous fees, books and other learning materials; full board and lodging; school and athletic uniforms, including supplies, equipment and paraphernalia; medical examinations and consultations, emergency medical services, and life and medical insurance.
Schools are also allowed to grant student-athletes “a reasonable regular monthly allowance, the amount of which shall be set and standardized by the athletic association to which the school is affiliated with,” the proposed law states.
However, under the Act, schools cannot offer a student-athlete or his or her immediate family members any benefit or incentive “which are contrary to the nature of amateur sports and which may result in the commercialization of a student-athlete.”
An athletic association found to have violated provisions of the Act shall be penalized with a fine ranging from P100,000 to P1,000,000 depending on the gravity of the offense.
A school found guilty of violating the Act’s provisions shall be suspended from participating in the athletic organization where it belongs and fined from P100,000 to P1,000,000 depending on the gravity of the offense.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Education (DepEd) were designated as the regulating agencies authorized to handle complaints against the athletic associations and schools and ensure that the rights of student-athletes are protected. “They may consult the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for technical expertise, as may be needed,” the Act states.