WITH local pro ranks swelling, the Games and Amusement Board hopes to have an online system in place early next year to accommodate the growing number of players seeking to avail of GAB pro licenses.
“We are now in the process of going fully online in the application of GAB pro licenses as we welcome and embrace more members in the pro sports family,” GAB chairman Baham Mitra said during the 2nd GAB Pro Sports Summit held online last Saturday.
“We are just clearing some matters with some government agencies such as the Commission on Audit and hopefully we will be fully online early next year regarding the application of pro licenses,” said Mitra.
He said that to make it easier for players to apply for GAB licenses “we have given them the option to make their appointments with our office online and also hold mobile licensing events in areas where GAB personnel can go process and issue these licenses.
“Who would have known that even in the midst of the pandemic the GAB (pro sports) family would grow,” he noted. “This year has been more than fruitful for the agency and we have been able to do so much with the help of our stakeholders that have helped push for the resumption of sports to provide livelihood to the pro sports industry.“
Among the sports that have agreed to fall under the supervision of the GAB are chess with the formation of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines and 3×3 basketball.
Also applying for special pro GAB license is the Philippine Volleyball League led by Sports Vision chief Ricky Palou, who disclosed during the event that he hopes the PVL will be able to resume sometime in the first quarter of 2021.
It also emerged from the virtual event that local esports (video games) practitioners since 2016 are classified as pros and have been seeking the assistance of the GAB, especially when they compete abroad, as well organizing local tournaments featuring players from overseas.
“In fact, the GAB has been helping esports since 2016 by providing assistance when some of our players are invited to compete internationally so we can be cleared with the proper government agencies,” noted Julius Mariano, who represented the group during the event.
Under GAB regulations, Mariano said that foreign players invited to local esports competitions are required to undergo mandatory drug testing before they compete in the country.
“Since we are under the Office of the President and in keeping with President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, it is only fitting that the GAB make this a mandatory policy and we will continue to stick by it,” Mitra said. “Esports players from abroad have eventually accepted this requirement without complaint.”