Boxing will remain in Region 12 athletic events despite Zambales incident

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 14 Dec) – Boxing matches in upcoming city and provincial athletic meets, as well as in the regional meet, will continue even after a 16-year-old high school student went into a coma following a competition in Iba, Zambales earlier this week.

Region 12 – where Manny Pacquiao hails from – is considered as a national powerhouse in boxing and had topped the event in the last three editions of the Palarong Pambansa.

Dr. Allan Farnazo, Department of Education (DepEd) Region 12 acting director, said Friday they will not stop the boxing events in athletic meets that are sanctioned by the agency unless their central office issues a directive scrapping it.

He said the DepEd central office is currently evaluating the event as a result of the Zambales incident but no decision has been made about it as of the moment.

“We will wait for the official pronouncement from the Office of the Secretary before making any move,” the official said.

Farnazo said he was saddened by the incident in Zambales, which happened in one of the boxing matches last Monday of the Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association Meet.

Reports said Jonas Joshua Garcia, 16, of San Miguel, Bulacan initially complained of dizziness during the second round of the boxing match after taking some shots in the head.

The fight was immediately stopped and Garcia was rushed to a hospital but doctors said he had an internal hemorrhage and went comatose.

“I’m keeping my options open but I can’t just decide to scrap the event,” said Farnazo, who disclosed that one of his nephews is even competing in boxing in an upcoming athletic meet in the area.

But as a result of the incident, the official said they will make sure that participating athletes in all events will have to undergo proper medical tests first before they would be allowed to compete.

He said they will assign additional medical teams during the athletic meets to properly monitor the condition of the athletes.

City and provincial division meets are currently ongoing in some parts of the region, which comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

The regional games, which is dubbed Cotabato Regional Athletic Association Meet, is scheduled on February 12-15 next year.