PSC crafting new protocols in response to COVID-19 pandemic

MANILA, Philippines, May 6 ------ The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is crafting new protocols for Filipino athletes and coaches as it anticipates the profound impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the sporting world. Speaking to PTV4 on Monday afternoon, PSC chairman William "Butch" Ramirez said the agency is crafting protocols to follow when the country shifts to the general community quarantine come May 16, as well as when a vaccine is developed for COVID-19. "We have to be very, very careful na from ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), sa May 16 magiging GCQ, what will be the protocol of sports," said Ramirez. "We will be recommending to the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) on some protocols." "Magbabago lahat 'yan. Ang PSC at this time is now crafting a protocol, the so-called protocol of the GCQ, the protocol when the vaccine comes, and the protocol when everything is (under the) new normal," he said. One change that they are likely to implement is long-distance coaching. "We plan to talk to the National Sports Associations and the Philippine Olympic Committee to be able to set up a program where coaches can continue to coach athletes who are in their provinces through teleconference," Ramirez explained. Athletes will also need to change their habits in order to stay safe, he said. "You can no longer use a towel na ginagamit ng isang atleta. You can no longer use a bed linen na ginagamit ng atleta," he added. "There are communal areas like swimming pool, bathrooms, canteen, etc. Disinfections and the preparation will really change our habits in the future," he further said. Ramirez believes that individual sports, such as athletics and singles tennis and table tennis, may return gradually, but it will take longer for team sports to be allowed to take place again. "'Pag dumating ang vaccine at parang normal na, gradual rin 'yung pagbabalik sa team sports, because the most important thing for one institution like sports, it has to adhere and follow the directions of the national government through the IATF," he stressed. "Kahit gusto man ng Philippine sports na magkaroon ng singles or solo (events), kung ayaw ng IATF, maiintindihan po namin 'yan kasi we have to take care of each life of a Filipino," he added. The PSC has already cancelled all events for the rest of 2020, including the country's hosting of the ASEAN Para Games, as part of its "belt-tightening measures" due to the pandemic. Source: