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House panel adopts resolution to give athletes COVID-19 vaccine priority

The House committee on sports and youth development on Tuesday, February 23, adopted the resolution to give COVID-19 vaccine priority to Filipino national athletes preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and 2021 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

The panel chaired by Isabela 5th district Representative Faustino Michael Dy III approved House Resolution No. 1507 which was filed by Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero.

"I thank our esteemed colleagues in the committee on sports and youth development for sharing my vision and supporting my goal of helping our Olympians bring home the country’s first Olympic gold despite the challenges they face during this pandemic,” said Romero.

The adopted resolution, though, only gives the athletes a chance to be part of the COVID-19 vaccination priority list and cannot compel the government to act on it.

Twenty more athletes are in the running to qualify for the world's biggest sports showpiece happening from July 23 to August 8, 2021. (READ: Restart: PH sports shake up Tokyo Olympics drive)

So far, only 4 Filipinos – pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno – have qualified for the delayed Olympics.

2016 Rio silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and 2018 Asian Games gold medalists Margielyn Didal, Yuka Saso, and Bianca Pagdanganan are also in the running in their respective sports.

Currently training in the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) bubble are women's boxing world champion Nesthy Petecio and taekwondo jin Pauline Lopez, who are slated to join the qualifiers for their events.

In seeking priority for the athletes, Romero said that administering the vaccine to the latter would be beneficial to the SEA Games athletes as it will give them more time to prepare and qualify through national meets.

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) earlier announced that the country will send a delegation of 560 athletes to the regional biennial meet that is set to be staged from November 21 to December 2, 2021, in Hanoi, Vietnam.

This is close to half of the country's 2019 SEA Games delegation, which won the Philippines' first overall championship in 14 years. – Rappler.com

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.

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