AFTER nearly five months of stoppage due to the pandemic, professional sports in the country finally gets green light to resume training provided that the provisions of the GAB-PSC-DOH Joint Administrative Order (JAO) are met.
Among these are Games and Amusements Board (GAB)-regulated sports such as professional basketball, football, boxing, MMA, and Muay Thai.
"Last month, I, Commissioners Ed Trinidad and Mar Masanguid approached the IATF and DOH to ask for their guidance on how to safely reboot the operations of professional sports in the country. Finally, the wait is over -- the JAO has been signed," said GAB Chairman Abraham Kahlil Mitra.
Mitra said the JAO enumerates the allowable professional sports activities per risk severity level: in high-risk areas (ECQ and MECQ), only non-contact sports or individual exercises shall be allowed; in moderate risk areas (GCQ and MGCQ with modifiers), championship and non-championship combat sports fights, such as boxing, MMA, Muay Thai scheduled abroad involving a GAB-licensed athlete may be permitted; with regard to football and basketball, maximum of 5 players may be allowed to resume training in GCQ areas, while a maximum of 10 players may be allowed to resume physical conditioning activities in MGCQ with modifiers areas; boxing training is allowed in moderate areas provided that the fighters shall have no Covid-19 symptoms in the past 14 days; and in low-risk areas (MGCQ without modifiers), practice and actual games may be permitted provided that the provisions of the JAO must be complied with.
"[Philippine Sports Commission] Chairman Butch Ramirez, DOH Secretary [Francisco] Duque, and I have already signed the Joint Administrative Order. We are so happy and excited that finally after more than four months our professional football and basketball players can now shake off some pounds they may have acquired during the quarantine. We expect them to practice maybe for a month or two to be match fit and hopefully, when quarantine levels go down, they may be allowed to eventually play. It is effective immediately," Mitra added.
The JAO, however, contains a penalty clause; thus, fines and legal actions may be imposed for any willful violations of the provisions of the JAO, he lamented.
Meanwhile, the GAB Medical Section and Legal Division are set to discuss all the salient features of the JAO on 'Kamustahan sa GAB" online program today.