Asian council hands Team PH immunity
Every Filipino athlete bound for the coming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam is assured of immunization from COVID-19.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president and Cavite representative Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino made the guarantee on Wednesday after securing a $40,000 subsidy from the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) specifically earmarked for the purchase of vaccines for Team Philippines.
“This is good news for Filipino athletes who will be competing in the SEA Games. Once they get inoculated, they can train with very little fear of getting infected,’’ said Tolentino, who appointed POC first vice president Al Panlilio as task force chair on vaccine procurement.
According to Tolentino, the acquisition of the vaccines courtesy of the OCA is separate from the commitment of ports tycoon Enrique Razon, who offered to donate Moderna vaccines for the country’s delegation to the Tokyo Olympics. The vaccines are expected to arrive late May or early June.
“It would be up to the task force what brand and when to start the procurement process,’’ said Tolentino.
“We will get whichever is the first available vaccine that will be allowed for procurement. We cannot choose,’’ added the president of the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines.A total of 626 athletes from 39 sports have been entered by the POC in the Nov. 21 to Dec. 2 biennial sportsfest in Hanoi.
Tolentino said the POC would make the purchase in its capacity as a private entity just days after Malacañang allowed nongovernment institutions and companies to obtain vaccines for their workforce.
“This is positive news for our athletes,’’ said Commissioner Ramon Fernandez of the Philippine Sports Commission, the chef de mission of Team Philippines to the Vietnam SEA Games.
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