Congresswoman Roa-Puno files bill to regulate PEDs

Antipolo City Rep. Cristina "Chiqui" Roa-Puno filed on Thursday a measure that would regulate the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports, which she said posed "an unfair advantage in competitions as well as extreme danger to the health of the athletes."

As Deputy Majority Leader and vice chairperson of the House committee on youth and sports, Roa-Puno believes Congress must exert efforts to protect the country's athletes against doping.

To date, the Philippines has limited its legislation to the regulation of drugs or narcotics through RA9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. But the law only deals with the use of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, and prescription medications.

Earlier this year, news on Gilas Pilipinas' Kiefer Ravena's suspension rocked the nation, putting a spotlight on the possibility of an athlete unknowingly ingesting WADA-prohibited substances. According to Ravena, the culprit was the pre-workout drink named "DUST" which contained ingredients included in WADA's list of prohibited substances.

"When we think about doping, we immediately think drugs, but substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) can also be found in dietary supplements and may even be in grocery and food items found in health food stores and online. This is why it is important that we act fast and safeguard our athletes from these banned substances," said Roa-Puno.

Once enacted, House Bill No. 8544 will ensure that the Philippines complies with its duties as a state party to the UNESCO International Convention Against Doping in Sport, and adopt an anti-doping policy in agreement with the principles of fairness, equity, legality, and transparency in sporting activities. It also seeks to promote the health of athletes globally, including their fundamental rights to participate in doping-free sports.

HB 8544 will establish the Philippine National Anti-Doping Organization (PH-NADO), an independent body with the sole responsibility of carrying out anti-doping activities in the Philippines. This organization will work towards combating and preventing doping in all international and national-level sports; testing for prohibited substances and methods, and stipulating penalties and sanctions for its violations.