Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo expressed his sadness over the Philippine Sports Commission’s withdrawal of support for the 2020 ASEAN Para Games.
But he understands wholeheartedly the dire situation the world is in right now.
“On Wednesday, the PSC announced that all sports activities for the rest of the year have been postponed, including the discontinuation of the agency’s financial support to the Asean Para Games hosting,” read Barredo’s statement.
“While this is disheartening news for our local and ASEAN para-athletes who have trained and sacrificed so much to represent their respective countries, their health, and safety, as well as their coaches, members of their team, and families, remain our top priority. We understand that this is a global concern and this is a very difficult decision to do.”
In an online meeting led by PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez, the agency deemed that the country’s sporting events are cancelled until December or until a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been distributed publicly. With the Para Games taking place during that span, the PSC also decided to withdraw financial support for it.
Barredo knows all too well that the funds to sustain the event are much-needed by other government agencies to battle this pandemic.
“At this moment, sports must take a back seat to address a greater issue.”
The APG was first scheduled to take place last January but was pushed to March. Due to the pandemic, it was later moved to October later this year.
With hosting no longer feasible, Barredo is currently in talks with the continental governing body for Para Sports with the next steps that need to be taken.
“Altogether, the hosting of the APG by the Philippines is currently not feasible without government support. We will send a communication to the ASEAN Para Sports Federation on the present situation so that its Board of Governors may decide on the fate of the APG,” he continued.
For the time being, Barredo, on behalf of the Philippine Paralympic Committee, is praying for everyone’s safety. Moreover, he assured to every para-athlete that they won’t be left behind.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust to government directives. Our hearts and prayers go to our local and ASEAN para-athletes and the entire Paralympic community, and those who have toiled and labored for the past two years such as our stakeholders, sponsors, business groups, sports advocates, office workers, administrative staff, and countless volunteers who have committed to make the APG a lifelong experience for all of us. We shall continue to develop Para Sports and further the Paralympic Movement,” he said.
“Let us continue to train our minds and bodies during this pandemic — let us not lose sight of our goals, let us keep the faith and plow forward. We have our unstoppable spirit. We are para-athletes. We heal as one.“