THE health and safety of national athletes during the pandemic remain as the priority of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
While admitting the Filipino athletes should now get back into training for the coming Tokyo Olympics and Southeast Asian Games, PSC Chaiman William “Butch” Ramirez said health protocols should be followed before national sports associations are allowed to restart their program.
Ramirez said the PSC has already issued a 10-point guideline aimed at preventing the transmission of the coronavirus infection and ensuring the safety of all athletes and coaches who intend to restart their training.
He reiterated the existence of the Joint Administrative Order (JAO), which was created in consultation with the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) and Department of Health (DOH) to provide the proper guidelines on the conduct of physical and sports activities during this COVID-19 pandemic
“Sa pananaw ng PSC, one positive case can spread quickly, so we have to be very careful,” said ” said Ramirez during an online press conference last Friday.
Ramirez admitted the protocols by the PSC will be even more stricter than the one made by Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) during its successful Philippine Cup bubble in Pampanga. “If they (athletes) are not able to follow the protocols, they will not be allowed by the PSC,” explained Ramirez.
He said the resumption of athletes’ training will all depend on the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
Ramirez said he is well aware that training of national athletes are already delayed compared to the other Southeast Asian countries.
“I have been told that some of our (SEAG) rivals have been training already. I also know our athletes are eager to get back into action. We are just being careful about this because if there is one who did not follow the rules, we would have to stop it and close it down. Isa lang ang na-infect, isasara namin sila,” said Ramirez.
Ramirez also said the PSC is working hard on the acquisition of vaccines so they can immunize all members of the national team.
“Pag may pera, ibibigay natin. We would like to give vaccines to all our athletes. Pag wala, we will ask from the government and I will call Health Secretary (Francisco) Duque ,” said Ramirez, adding that he expects the vaccine to be available in the country by June.
Under Ramirez, the PSC will also continue to make sports accessible to all Filipinos, if and when allowed by the IATF,thru its various programs, such as Sports for Peace, Indigenous Sports Program, Women in Sports, Differently-Abled Sports for Life Program, Walk-a-Mile Senior Citizens Project and “Laro’t Saya sa Parke.”