House of Representatives

Mikee Romero files resolution to give PH athletes COVID-19 vaccine priority

Beatrice Go

TITLE DEFENSE. The Philippines is set to defend its 2019 SEA Games overall championship title.

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Mikee Romero lobbies for Filipino athletes to be classified as frontliners for COVID-19 vaccine priority

Deputy House Speaker Mikee Romero filed a resolution on Tuesday, January 26, that will allow Filipino athletes, who are set to participate in the Tokyo Olympics and the 2021 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination.

Should the resolution be adopted, the House can urge the IATF to classify the national athletes as frontliners, who will be able to receive the first batch of vaccines in March or April.

Romero stressed that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic hopefuls, who are currently training inside the bubble at the National University (NU) INSPIRE Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, will be participating in qualifying meets starting April.

The delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics is still set to be staged from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

“Vaccine is a must for the Tokyo Olympics, so I’m espousing a House resolution prioritizing the Philippine athletes,” said Romero on Tuesday in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) online Forum.

Pole vaulter EJ Obiena, world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo, top boxer Eumir Marcial and 2019 SEA Games silver medalist Irish Magno have qualified for the global sports showpiece.

However, Magno is the lone qualifier among the 4 who has remained in the Philippines and is currently training inside the bubble set up by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

“This is a chance of a lifetime for our athletes and the country to win an Olympic gold. And what we can do is to mitigate it by giving them vaccines,” said Romero.

Other top hopefuls include 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan, and women’s boxing world champion Nesthy Petecio. (READ: Restart: PH sports shake up Tokyo Olympics drive)

Romero, the Northport team owner and a member of the Philippine polo team, also included the national athletes set to qualify and participate in the 2021 SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The vaccine will allow the athletes to qualify for spots via national meets and to prepare them for the country’s overall championship title defense.

The regional biennial meet is set to be staged from November 21 to December 2, 2021. – with reports from Mara Cepeda/Rappler.com

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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine 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.