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Puentevella calls for transgender ban in Phl sports

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Monico Puentevella/FB Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas chief Monico Puentevella wants a ban on transgenders going into sports.

Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella said transgenders “do not belong in sports” and their inclusion “is unfair to women who train and dedicate their daily lives to win.”

Puentevella said his advocacy stretches back to his early days as SWP president to ensure that the playing field is equal to all competitors.

“It’s happening now and before it gets worse, we should have a law condemning this malpractice. I’ve been doing this crusade in world weightlifting for years now condemning countries who always want to win an Olympic medal by hook or by crook, there should be equality of gender even in sports,” Puentevella, a former Bacolod congressman, told DAILY TRIBUNE.

“We only have two problems in weightlifting: Doping and transgender. I hope a bill will be established to ban transgenders here in the Philippines sports,” Puentevella said.

“I would like to request a congressman to file a bill banning transgenders in Philippine sports. I can sense some sports already allowing transgender athletes to join.”

But banning them could be easier said than done.

Responding to Puentevella’s call, Isabela congressman Faustino Dy III noted that while he is on the same page with Puentevella, a ruling can’t be made right away.

Preventing transgenders to compete should be based on the bylaws of each sport’s world governing body, said Dy.

“For me, I want it to be fair for everyone. If you’re a man, you have to compete in the men’s category. If you are born as a woman, you have to play in the women’s division, no matter what your preferred gender is,” said Dy, who is also the chairman of the Committee on Youth and Sports Development.

But the gamechanger will be the guidebook of a particular sports federation.

“We have international sports associations. Our local sports associations will have to follow the rules of the international. It really depends on the international federation.”

In a policy by the International Weightlifting Federation, those who have their genders swapped before completing puberty will be allowed to compete in a category they prefer.

New Zealand lifter Laurel Hubbard competed in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 as an openly transgender athlete but failed to podium in the women’s 87+ kilogram category.

Still, Puentevella calls for lawmakers to create a law to ban transgender athletes from all local competitions.

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