House Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero is confident the Tokyo Olympics will push through this year and cited the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine for Filipino athletes preparing for the quadrennial event.
“Vaccine is a must for the Tokyo Olympics so I’m espousing a House resolution prioritizing the Philippine athletes,” said Romero in a special appearance Tuesday in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) online Forum.
Romero, a team owner in the PBA and member of the Philippine polo team, said even those gearing up for the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games in November must get the vaccine.
“This is a chance of a lifetime for our athletes and the country to win Olympic gold. And what we can do is to mitigate it by giving them vaccines.”
Romero said national athletes should be among those being prioritized for vaccination, including the medical frontliners, senior citizens, the police and military, and the less-privileged.
The sports-minded congressman said the vaccines of various brands should arrive in the country in March or April, and will cover 80 million doses for 40 million Filipinos on two doses each.
“We are currently signing the players (contracts). They are doing individual training and we’re only waiting for the go-signal for team practices to resume. Our players are observing the health protocols,” he said.
To make sure that the athletes are prioritized, Romero said he filed House Resolution No. 1507 which urges the IATF and the appropriate government agencies to classify national athletes who are vying for a slot in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Southeast Asian Games as frontliners to prioritize them vaccination against COVID-19.
“Dapat bigyan sila,” he told the forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), and powered by Smart with Upstream Media as webcast partner.
Romero is wishing the Olympic athletes the best in their bid to deliver the elusive gold medal despite the global pandemic that has pushed the Summer Games from last year to this year.
“It’s a chance of a lifetime for these athletes. I hope we win the gold after 100 years of trying. It’s long overdue,” said Romero, who mentioned weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, gymnast Caloy Yulo, and boxer Eumir Felix Marcial as those with solid chances.
“With the vaccine, I think all of our athletes will be safe. They all need the vaccine.”