Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Sports Christopher “Bong” Go renewed his appeal to the national government to ensure that qualified members of Team Philippines are inoculated in order for them to safely travel and participate in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo City, Japan and Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi City, Vietnam in July-August and November-December, respectively, this year.
“Marami rin po ang naghihirap sa ating mga atleta at tatandaan natin na bukod sa pag-representa sa ating bansa, lahat po sila ay may mga pamilya rin pong pinapakain at binubuhay. Ang pagbabakuna sa kanila ay hindi lang bilang suporta sa ating mga atleta, kundi suporta rin upang maiangat muli ang kanilang kabuhayan,” he added.
Go earlier discussed his appeal with vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. Both committed to include qualified athletes in the priority list, without prejudice to already identified priority categories such as frontliners, senior citizens, those with comorbidities, and essential sectors.
“Bilang Chair ng Senate Committees on Sports at Health, umaapila ako na bakunahan na agad ang ating mga atleta na sasabak sa upcoming international competitions. Makiisa at magmalasakit tayo sa Team Pilipinas. Suportahan at proteksyunan natin sila dahil karangalan rin ng bansa ang nakataya rito,” he appealed.
“Bandila ng Pilipinas at dangal ng lahing Pilipino ang itatanghal ng ating mga atleta sa mga palarong ito. Dapat lamang na bigyan din natin sila ng sapat na proteksyon.
Noong nakaraang 2019 SEA Games, naging kampeon ang Team Pilipinas dahil sa suporta ng buong sambayanang Pilipino. Nagkaisa ang gobyerno, pribadong sektor, at ordinaryong Pilipino para sa ating mga atleta.
“Ngayon na kailangan nila ang tulong at proteksyon mula sa sakit, ibigay muli natin ang suportang kailangan nila hindi lamang sa oras ng kanilang kompetisyon, kundi pati na rin sa kanilang preparasyon at panahon ng kanilang pangangailangan,” said Go..
Moreover, the Senator urged the Philippine Sports Commission, in coordination with the Philippine Olympic Committee, to finalize the master list of athletes competing for the Olympics and SEA Games which shall be submitted to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases through the Department of Health.
According to the PSC and POC, the country is expecting to form a delegation with around 100 members for the Olympics. An estimated 1,500-strong delegation will also be formed for the SEA Games. These include athletes, coaches, and team officials, among others.
The Japanese government announced that it will push ahead with the Summer Olympics with the opening ceremony taking place on July 23. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympics Committee stated that vaccinations, while ‘strongly encouraged’, will not be mandatory for athletes to participate.
On Thursday, May 6, the IOC announced U.S.-based Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech will also be donating vaccines to inoculate athletes and officials. Deliveries are expected to begin this month to give delegations enough time to be fully vaccinated. A similar deal was made last March for the purchase and distribution of Chinese vaccines.