After months of delay, the supplement to the 2020 Joint Administrative Order (JAO) for the Guidelines on the Conduct of Health-Enhancing Physical Activities during the COVID-19 Pandemic has finally been approved.
The Games and Amusements Board (GAB), Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), and the Department of Health (DOH) officially approved it last Wednesday.
In the new guidelines, areas in either General Enhanced Quarantine or its Modified iteration can now host training for both contact and non-contact sports for as long as it is held inside a bubble.
“This new Order will help both our athletes and the leagues to move forward and break the pandemic sabbatical effect as we really need to keep our athletes in sporting shape,” said GAB chairman Baham Mitra.
With regards to competition, individual contact events like martial arts and team-based non-contact sports like billiards and esports can take place in GCQ areas for as long as they are in a bubble.
Team-based contact events though like basketball, football, and volleyball have yet to be cleared for competition in GCQ areas.
No audience is still allowed for competitions and trainings in both classifications.
The 2020 JAO has restricted the conduct of scrimmages in areas under MGCQ.
“We want to thank the IATF and the DOH for helping us forge this new policy direction and for recognizing the plight of our professional athletes and stakeholders, especially during these challenging times,” said Mitra.
PBA teams have been training either in a bubble or in a closed-circuit system in Ilocos Norte and Batangas. Same with NBL and WNBL teams.
PVL teams, on the other hand, are in separate bubbles across Luzon. On the other hand, VisMin Super Cup squads are currently in a bubble in Pagadian, Zamboanga Del Sur — an MECQ area.
MPL-PH teams have been strictly following a bootcamp model over the past three seasons to ensure that their players will not have contact with the outside world.