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Boxers get lift from GAB, DOH

MANILA, Philippines - GAB chairman Abraham Mitra said the other day he hopes to finalize a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Health (DOH) soon in assuring free medical benefits for the country’s 1,054 professional boxers while sparing the fighters the cost of submitting a mandatory CT-Scan to renew their licenses on a yearly basis.

Mitra will sit down with the DOH staff in what he called a finalization meeting tomorrow. The partnership between the two government agencies was broached when DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial attended the third Philippine Boxing Convention organized by GAB in Davao City last May. Ubial promised to provide free medical check-ups, including CT-Scans and MRIs if necessary, and Philhealth coverage for fighters all over the country, using the network of regional government-owned hospitals when she spoke at the three-day gathering.

Abraham Mitra. STAR File Photo
“We’re fortunate that Secretary Ubial has a heart for sports,” said Mitra. “She believes in the value of being physically and mentally fit. From what we know, she sets aside one to two hours for exercise every day either early in the morning or late at night so as not to disrupt her busy day schedule.”

At the moment, GAB requires professional boxers to submit to a medical check-up with a required CT-Scan every year in renewing their licenses. Fight managers usually advance the payment for the examination subject to deduction from a boxer’s future purse. A CT-Scan costs anywhere between P1,200 to P2,000, including the CD or a copy of the film.

GAB chief medical officer Dr. Radentor Viernes recently uncovered an alarming anomaly where fighters submitted fake CT-Scans. Mitra confirmed that 119 boxers were guilty of deceit and only 30 have been stricken off the blacklist after resubmitting genuine CT-Scans. It was found out that a fixer offered to arrange CT-Scans without personal appearance for a fee of P800, using a common template fished out of the files of clinics in Parañaque and Lipa.

“The fighters are the victims,” said Mitra. “Dr. Viernes uncovered the anomaly when CT-Scans of several fighters showed the same serial number. We sent an investigative team to the clinics where the CT-Scans were supposed to have been done and found out the fighters never went to the clinics. We’ve told the fighters that their licenses will be renewed if they resubmit genuine CT-Scans with no negative findings.”

Source: http://www.philstar.com/sports/2017/07/24/1720979/boxers-get-lift-gab-doh

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