The Philippine Sports Commission looks to draw backup plans amid the surge of COVID-19 cases in the country that have forced stricter quarantine measures in the “NCR Plus.”
PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez, who’s also the 2021 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games chef de mission, said if a training bubble is not permitted, then the government sports agency is looking to partner with local government units (LGU) that have lower COVID-19 cases.
“I had an idea na kumausap sa mga LGU na mahilig sa sports kung puwede ba silang tumulong sa atin sa mga NSAs (national sports associations). The LGU will take care of the building, transportation, and food within the area,” said Fernandez on Tuesday, April 13 in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association online forum.
“[We’ll] seek a formula. Matetest na natin ngayon kung nakaka-unite ba talaga ang sports. Hopefully, a lot of LGUs will support our kids. Para naman ito sa atletang Pilipino.”
(I had an idea of talking to LGUs that support sports if they can help our NSAs. The LGU will take care of the building, transportation, and food within the area. We’ll seek a formula. This will test if sports can really unify. Hopefully, a lot of LGUs will support our kids. This is for the Filipino athletes.)
Fernandez is highly considering this route as the PSC only has a P200 million budget for the entire 2021 SEA Games bid. He explained that P100 million will be spent on the trip itself, while the remainder will be spent for training.
The PSC commissioner is hoping that 3 months will be enough for the Filipino athletes to ramp up their SEA Games bid for the country to defend its overall title in the regional biennial meet set to be staged from November 21 to December 2 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“I just hope 3 months would really be enough for them to perform still at their peak or at their very best,” added Fernandez.
“It’s hard to say, but thinking from an athletes’ point of view, tingin ko itong mga athletes na ito kundisyon naman ito, at nag-eensayo naman ito on their own (I think the athletes are conditioned and they are able to train on their own).”
The scheduled bubble training for Filipino athletes was slated to kick off on Thursday, April 15 at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, but had to be canceled due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.
Although lockdown restrictions in the “NCR Plus” have been downgraded to a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) last Monday, group practices and scrimmages are still not allowed as per the joint administrative order (JAO) crafted by the PSC, Games and Amusements Board (GAB), and the Department of Health (DOH). – Rappler.com