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GAB’s Mitra excited for 2021, but reminds ‘we cannot relax’

Games and Amusements Board (GAB) is not lowering its guard amid the very encouraging news that the COVID-19 vaccine is out for distribution and administration in other countries.

Chairman Abraham Mitra said until the vaccine is made available to Filipinos – particularly athletes, coaches, trainers, and the others under GAB’s watch – safety protocols should remain in place.

“We cannot relax,” said Mitra during Tuesday’s online version of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.

The chairman of the government agency tasked to overlook all professional sports in the country said people should not fall into a sense of complacency even with the vaccine on the way.

“We must continue to stay safe. And we at GAB will make sure that we remind them,” Mitra told the forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Golf, MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

Mitra, in his third year as GAB chairman, said he had a coordination meeting with representatives from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Department of Health (DOH) last Friday.

“There are supplemental guidelines coming out aside from the JAO (joint administrative order). But it was just an initial meeting. We will meet again,” he said.

Mitra told the weekly forum powered by Smart, with Upstream Media as webcast partner, that he remains optimistic 2021 will mark the return or entry of sports into the new normal, with more and more competitions taking place.

“Despite the pandemic, sports stayed alive. Thanks to the IATF, boxing resumed, then the PBA, Chooks-to-Go 3×3, NBL (National Basketball League), and the PFL (Philippines Football League),” he said.

“Horseracing and cockfighting are back with no audience. Beach volleyball is coming back. We are very excited. We’re looking at 2021 as a banner. Sabik at gigil. Just like the economy, we want Philippine sports to be back on its feet the soonest time.”

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