MOST professional sports — from basketball to boxing to football — should be back sooner than expected.
That’s because the deadly coronavirus pandemic, which forced sports to shut down not only in the country but in the entire world in March, is finally slowing down.
Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra, however, sees another major reason for the immediate return of professiona sports.
“I think we’re finally seeing the flattening of the curve. Even international sports are back. So, we should be back soon,” said Mitra in an online interview with People’s Tonight.
“But I think one more reason that the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) and other professional sports can return to play soon is the cooperation of the various stakeholders in the sports,” explained Mitra.
Mitra, one of the prime movers in the creation of the Joint Administrative Order (JAO), or the “Guidelines on the Conduct of Health-Enhancing and Sports during the COVID-19 Pandemic”, said he was satisfied with what he saw when he visited the training sessions of the PBA and other pro sports recently.
Last Thursday, Mitra visited the workout session of PBA team Rain or Shine at the Reyes Sports gym in Mandaluyong City.
“Rain or Shine is complying with the IATF requirements. Very good dahil they’re self-regulating,” said Mitra, who was personally welcomed by Rain or Shine assistant coach and family friend Mike Buendia.
“Actually, sobrang bait nila. Kasi yung inabot ko apat lang in a session. Eh allowed sila hanggang lima. Sabi ko nga tuloy-tuloy lang nila para ‘di na kami mahirapan mag-ikot,” added Mitra.
But Mitra sad GAB will continue its random visits not only to the workouts of PBA teams, but clubs/gyms in other professional sports under their supervision.
Mitra, who was appointed by President Duterte as GAB head in 2016, also visited the training sessions of the Philippine Football League in Carmona, Cavite; and the Olivetti Boxing Gym in Biñan, Laguna.
He also visited the Manila Jockey Club in Cavite.
“We want to make sure that all health and safety proocols being imposed by IATF thru the JAO are followed. Sabi nga, para sa atin din naman lahat ito.”
Earlier, Mitra also thanked Department of Health Sec. Sec. Francisco Duque III for endorsing JAO to both Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
In a letter dated Aug. 5, Sec. Duque III has requested DILG Secretary Eduardo Año to endorse the JAO to all the local government units through the issuance of appropriate policy.