Games and Amusements Board Chairman Baham Mitra is grateful to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for allowing the PBA to conduct scrimmages after weeks of inactivity due to the circumstances brought about by the ongoing pandemic.
Asia’s pioneering pro league finally received the approval for its request Friday with the issuance of IATF Resolution No. 114, clearing the way for teams to hold full practices in areas under general community quarantine and modified GCQ.
Team workouts were stalled as stricter lockdown measures were implemented in Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna late last March due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.
“This move shows that the government has recognized the plight of Filipino professional athletes, especially during these trying times,” said Mitra.
The country’s regulatory body of professional sports is set to convene with the league to discuss health and safety protocols.
Commissioner Willie Marcial had said in a virtual press briefing held hours after the Task Force’s announcement that he will meet with GAB next week for such, as the league has updated its measures before going back into action.
Aside from the PBA, GAB will also meet officials from the Philippines Football League for the same matter. The PFL has also gained the nod of the IATF in conducting practices for its 2021 season, which is targeted to open in July.
“We will sit down with these two professional leagues to discuss the possible guidelines and facilitate the immediate implementation of the IATF’s approval,” said Mitra.
“Of course, the health and safety of our athletes are of paramount importance, so, on our part, we will ensure our compliance with the directives of the IATF.”
GAB is pleased with these developments as it would not only bode well for the two leagues, but for other pro leagues in the country as well.
Both the Premier Volleyball League and the National Basketball League-Philippines have applied to gain clearance to have their respective seasons rolling but both leagues are patiently waiting, still.
“This approval is based on the Supplemental Guidelines to the Joint Administrative Order No. 2020-0001 of the PSC, GAB, and the DOH or the guidelines on the conduct of athletic bubble-type training and competition during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” said Mitra.
“This Supplemental Guidelines will also allow all professional sports leagues under the tutelage of GAB to resume training under a bubble modality in GCQ and MGCQ areas.”