The Commission on Higher Education echoed the reminder of the Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusement Board, and Department of Health, which issued the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) on the conduct of physical activities and sports in a virtual meeting held on Wednesday, regarding the alleged practice of some universities, reminding universities and colleges to follow applicable guidelines.
CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera III mentioned that their agency, which supervises tertiary education in the country, has issued several advisories and guidelines since March advising the students to stay home. These were consistent with the guidelines issued by the IATF and the tri-agency-issued JAO.
“Safety of our students is the topmost concern,” said De Vera.
This statement mirrors the constant stand and reminder of PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez who on his statement related to this issue said that the life and safety of athletes are “important that no medal can ever equal.” In the same statement, Ramirez also advised sports officials to always keep the safety of their athletes the “top priority”.
University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Executive Director Rebo Saguisag and UAAP Season 83 President Nonong Calanog said that the university in question is now finalizing their internal investigation, and UAAP expects to receive the final report before their meeting on Friday. The UAAP was also requested to seek clarification from another member-university whose volleyball athletes allegedly trained as well, despite government-issued restrictions.
PSC National Training Director Marc Velasco thanked De Vera and reiterated the PSC’s stance on the safety of athletes.
“The PSC will always push to uphold the issuances regarding sports and physical activity and we are happy that CHED is a steady partner when it comes to sports in universities and colleges,” said Velasco.
GAB Chairman Abraham Mitra appreciated the input of CHED saying that De Vera’s inputs “gave the group another perspective on these issues” and actively gave examples of how the GAB handles similar situations on professional sports.
Also in the meeting were CHED Executive Directory Atty. Cindy Jaro and DOH Health Promotion and Communication Service Head Rodley Carza.
The group expects to have representatives from the two universities join the next meeting set on September 1, where they hope to resolve the matter and take final action.