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GIVE SEA GAMES ATHLETES STRICT BUBBLE TRAINING

The Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list said the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) must ensure that all training bubbles for athletes bound for the coming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games will be totally sanitized and secured to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 infections.

This, after PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez said the usual training venues for Team Philippines were shuttered following a recent and now unprecedented spike in COVID-19 infections.

“We have to ensure that our training bubbles, wherever they may be held, remain that exactly – bubbles, with no external contaminations coming in. It is the only way to prevent our athletes from contracting COVID, especially now that the Omicron variant is proving to be highly transmissible,” PBA Party-list spokesperson Atty. Migs Nograles said.

“It is the only way to prevent our athletes from contracting COVID, especially now that the Omicron variant is proving to be highly transmissible.”

Philippine Sports Institute National Training Director Marc Edward Velasco earlier said the PSC would finalize the protocols for athletes going into training bubbles, where self-quarantine and a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) swab test are required prior to entry.

The Philippines plans to send 626 athletes in 29 of the 30 sports that will be played during the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, on May 12-23. Bulk of the athletes are supposed to train inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) in Manila and and the Philsports Complex in Pasig.

Nograles also urged the PSC and all national sports associations (NSAs) to have their athletes get their booster shots against COVID-19.

“There is increasing evidence that mRNA-based vaccines are more effective in protecting against the Omicron variant compared to the other vaccines. So I hope the PSC and our NSAs will facilitate the vaccination of our athletes with either Pfizer or Moderna, regardless of the brand they got for their first and second doses,” she said.

Meanwhile, the PBA Party-list called on the government to augment the budget allocated for the training and participation of Team Philippines in the Hanoi SEA Games.

Nograles also urged the PSC and all national sports associations (NSAs) to have their athletes get their booster shots against COVID-19.

“The surge of the Omicron variant means more stringent health protocols need to be put in place during training, and this, of course, means more expenses. I know the government wants our athletes to do well in the SEA Games, but in order for them to bring home medals, they have to have adequate funding for their training,” Nograles stressed.

The Department of Budget and Management has allocated only P50 million for the training and actual participation of Team Philippines to the 11-nation sportsfest in Hanoi.

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