Press Release
October 1, 2018

Senate passes bill granting Filipino citizenship to veteran international boxing referee

With no objection from all senators present, the Senate on Monday, October 1, approved on third and final reading a measure granting Filipino citizenship to veteran international boxing referee Bruce Donald McTavish.

House Bill 7388, sponsored by Sen. Richard Gordon as chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, granted Philippine citizenship to McTavish in recognition of his "exemplary contributions as a sportsman, entrepreneur, civic leader, devout Catholic and philanthropist."

The measure grants citizenship to McTavish, "with all the rights and corresponding obligations appurtenant thereto as a natural-born Filipino citizen."

McTavish, now 77 years old, has applied for Filipino citizenship as early as 2010.

Then Rep. Carmelo Lazatin of the First District of Pampanga filed a bill at the House of Representatives in 2010 endorsing McTavish's application for citizenship by naturalization.

The committee on justice approved the measure with some amendments but the House failed to act on it in the plenary until Congress adjourned in 2013.

Rep. Joseller "Yeng" Guiao, in 2014 then filed House Bill No. 2343 which re-endorsed McTavish's re-application for Filipino citizenchip. The measure again failed to reach the plenary.

From Auckland, New Zealand, McTavish settled in Clark, Pampanga on February 12, 1967 and became field office manager in an American automobile manufacturer before pursuing a career as a boxing referee.

He is married to Carmen Tayag with whom he had two daughters.

McTavish started his career in refereeing in the 1970s. He has officiated some previous matches of Sen. Manny Pacquiao.

The last world title fight he officiated was between undefeated Thai Chayaphon Moonsri, who successfully defended his WBC world minimum weight title against Australian resident Omari Kimweri of Tanzania on June 3, 2016 in Rayong, Thailand.

Outside the Philippines and New Zealand, McTavish officiated matches in Australia, China, England, Japan, North Korea, Mexico, Russia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

In October last year, he was named Referee of the Year in the 55th WBC Convention held in Baku, Azerbaijan. The WBC also honored McTavish with the same recognition in 2013 and 2015.

Gordon also cited McTavish as among the pioneer investors in the Clark Freeport Zone and became the president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association in Pampanga.

He is also a well-known philanthropist. He was a member of the Rotary Club in the Philippines. From 1983 to 1984, McTavish served as president of the Rotary Club of Mabalacat in Pampanga. During his term, he introduced the Polio Plus Project, the pilot program that became the basis of Rotary International efforts to eradicate polio worldwide.

McTavish is currently involved with the Bahay Bata Foundation, a project of Rotary Club of Clark Centennial.

Bahay Bata is a residence center for street children in Angeles, Pampanga.

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