THE Senate and House of Representatives have approved a bicameral version of the Student-Athletes Protection Bill, which includes a provision prohibiting school leagues from imposing a residency period for high school athletes transferring to a different college.
Sen. Pia Cayetano, in a statement given to media outlets, announced the passing of the bill on Thursday.
“With the approval by the Senate and the House of the bicameral version of the Student-Athletes Protection Bill, the unjust practice of residency rules for high school students going to a different college will be a thing of the past,” Cayetano said.
“In past years, school sports associations have imposed residency rules on student-athletes that unfairly restricted their choice of school and their growth as athletes.”
“We recognize the important role of school athletic associations in developing the skills, character and potential of our youth through competitive sports. I also believe in their right to self-regulation. However, when interest groups within these associations refuse to act and address the concerns of student-athletes, then the government needs to step in to regulate their actions to ensure that the rights of the vulnerable are protected.
"In this case, it is the student-athletes whom we must protect from being commodified and subjected to unethical practices of some schools and organizations.”
The bill was crafted after high school swimmer Anna Bartolome moved to University of the Philippines for college but had to spend two years in residency before being able to compete because she did not get a release from former team University of Santo Tomas.
The move was also prompted by former FEU star Jerie Pingoy's controversial move to Ateneo and the two-year residency he was made to undergo by the UAAP after failing to secure a release from his former school.
Cayetano has been a staunch critic of the two-year residency rule on high school graduates.
While graduating high school athletes will no longer undergo residency, college athletes transferring to a different school will have to undergo a maximum of one-year residency to address piracy.
Schools, according to the bill, may grant benefits to deserving student-athletes in the form of tuition fees, board and lodging, school and athletic uniforms, reasonable monthly allowance, and medical benefits.
The Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education will oversee the school leagues in order for the athletes’ rights are protected.
Schools and leagues found in violation of the law will be fined from P100,000 to P1 million.