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By Dong Secuya
Sat, 09 Feb 2019

The Games and Amusements Board (GAB), the Philippines' regulatory agency for professional sports, has responded to Dr. Ed de la Vega's criticism of the agency's lack of concern for Filipino boxers' dental health, especially those who are cleared to fight outside of the country.

De La Vega, a prominent Filipino-American dentist who specializes in cosmetic and sports dentistry based in Canoga Park, California who once was a member of the California State Board of Dental Examiners and who also writes for, wrote a scathing article last Wednesday putting the GAB to task for sending boxers abroad with badly damaged teeth.

"From my humble point of view, dental problems should never be an issue for the fighters slated to fight abroad. To assure this, the problem(s) must be addressed before boxers are allowed to leave the country. It is the GAB?s responsibility to see to it that is done," De La Vega wrote.

In an unsigned letter sent to Philboxing from the office of GAB chairman Abraham Mitra, the agency said "We will consider discussing Dental/Oral Hygience in connection with our Mouth Guard lecture in our rounds of Gym inspection and to emphasize this in all other Professional Sports as well."

Currently GAB require boxers who fight abroad to have ECG, Chest X-Ray, Drug test, Hepatitis B and CT Scan. The agency, under the present administration, has a widely applauded memorandum of agreement with the Department of Health (DOH) to conduct these examinations to Filipino boxers free of charge.

The agency says it will only require boxers a dental clearance if mandated by the world boxing organizations. "Should these World Boxing Bodies or Commissions require our Boxers to have a Dental Clearance we will ask DOH for its inclusion in our MOA," GAB said in the letter.

De La Vega, on the other hand, believes that dental health is a serious issue. ?I believe that GAB should look far beyond their primary focus ... They must also focus on little things that can suddenly become a big issue and can cancel a fight or God forbid, lead to a loss of life like in the case of Pancho Villa.?

Below is GAB's letter in full.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Dong Secuya.

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