MANILA -- Racehorse jockeys will soon enjoy an early retirement as the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading a bill that would allow them to retire at 55 years old.

“Lowering the retirement age of jockeys is a must for them to enjoy the fruits of their career and avoid accidents during actual race that may cause serious injuries, even death, to both jockeys and horse,” said Valenzuela Representative Magtanggol Gunigundo.

Gunigundo said the objective of the House Bill 6511 or the proposed Race Horse Jockeys’ Retirement Act Of 2009 is to set the compulsory retirement age for jockeys at 55 years old.

The bill seeks to amend Presidential Decree 442, as amended otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines, by adding a new article 287-A reducing the retirement age of race horse jockeys from 60 to 55.

The Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom), which is the regulatory body governing the racing industry, has set the retirement age of jockeys at 55 years.

But as pointed out by Gunigundo, the retired jockeys still need to wait for five years more, or upon reaching the age of 60, before they could avail themselves of their retirement benefits.

The Philippine Jockeys Association (PJA) had earlier supported the passage of the bill. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)