GAMES and Amusement Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham Kahlil Mitra felt grateful and happy following the favorable response from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to the call of professional athletes.
“We are grateful to IATF for their response to our argument that this is not just sports/health but livelihood to many. Our 'no fight, no pay' statement probably convinced them. We are also grateful to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año for moving for the approval even of contact sports as they undergo PCR (polymerase chain reaction) Covid tests,” he said.
According to Mitra, to alleviate the sufferings of Pinoy pro-athletes and other GAB licensees whose earnings are adversely affected by the pandemic, he alongside GAB Commissioners Mar Masanguid and Ed Trinidad took the initiative to appeal the plight of our pro athletes to the Inter-Agency Task Force.
“As part of the initiative, GAB requested the IATF to allow the gradual resumption of professional sports and amusement events in the country, subject to specific health protocols that may be provided by the DOH (Department of Health),” Mitra said in a message.
To comply with the order of the IATF, Mitra coordinated with the DOH and PSC Technical Working Group to come up with a Joint Administrative Order, which aims to provide guidelines on the conduct of health-enhancing physical activities and income-generating professional sports activities during the Pandemic.
"We are thankful to all the members of the IATF for giving us the chance to present our case. This is a good development for the entire professional sports community. Pro sports events have been stalled for over four months now and this kind of development is really something to look forward to," said Mitra.
The GAB chairman is hoping, too, that boxing and other combat sports will soon get the green light from the IATF to operate in areas classified as low risk.
Mitra added that GAB is pushing for closed-door professional boxing events with zero spectators to reduce, if not eliminate, possible transmission of Covid-19. (JSG)