June 5 ------ THE Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is willing to help the seven sports that expressed their desire to return to practice amid the general community quarantine (GCQ) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seven national sports associations (NSAs) in basketball, volleyball, football, rugby football, track and field, karate, and gymnastics have indicated their plans to submit a letter to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF), PSC, and the Philippine Olympic Committee that they be allowed to at least resume practice sessions of their athletes.
The IATF is co-chaired by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles and Health Secretary Francisco Duque. “By the law, it’s the IATF calling the shots,” PSC chairman William Ramirez said during the recent Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum via video conference. “If the group of seven can give us a copy, I can give that document to Marc Velasco (executive assistant to the PSC chairman) and Atty. (Guillermo) Iroy (deputy executive director) and give that to Sec. Duque and bring that matter for discussion to the IATF.”
That was the same process, Ramirez said, that led to the IATF approval of sports such as golf to be played in areas under GCQ. Ramirez said the PSC is merely a recommendatory body to such decisions. “Ang masusunod diyan ‘yung IATF. The Philippine Sports Commission is working together with our MSAS (Medical Scientific Athletes Services) and we recommend to the IATF. If the IATF allows them, walang problema po. They are the one calling the shots,” said Ramirez.
Ramirez, however, said the NSAs can expect a difficult process before their respective sports will be allowed by the IATF to be played in the middle of the pandemic. “Maraming requirements because we don’t want to be blamed for the contagion of the infection,” said Ramirez.