Filipino athletes preparing for international meets need not be a priority for COVID-19 vaccinations by the government.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said this after reading a message of International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach to members of the POC General Assembly yesterday.
Bach relayed his message to member countries after he held consultation calls with the National Olympic Committees last Friday.
This is in line with the final stretch of the preparations for the postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, and the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
“He (Bach) insists that vaccination is not obligatory for athletes. But if different NOCs appeal to their national governments, athletes can be in the second line. Mr. Bach said we should not insist to have athletes in the first line, it should be the high risk and, the medical frontline people,” said Tolentino.
The POC discussed Bach’s message during a meeting held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel inside the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, and simultaneously relayed on Zoom.
Tolentino however said if Filipino athletes will be given a chance, the POC will appreciate such an effort.
The POC chief’s announcement comes a day after Deputy House Speaker Mikee Romero filed a resolution that will allow Filipino athletes, who are set to participate in the Tokyo Olympics and the 2021 Southeast Asian Games, to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination.
Should such a resolution be adopted, the House can urge the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases to classify the national athletes as frontliners.
The first batch of vaccines are set to reach Philippine shores in March or April.
Tolentino said he was informed that many NOCs want the Tokyo Olympics to happen and not cancelled again.
“We should be drumbeating the Olympics,” added Tolentino.
Meanwhile, the General Assembly confirmed its recognition of leaders elected to posts in cycling, skating, skating, tennis, obstacle sports, rugby and canoe/kayak.
Questions were raised on the elections held by the newly-formed Philippine National Volleyball Federation, and its new head, Ramon “Tats” Suzara.
But POC officials said any questions on the leadership of the PNVF will be forwarded to the newly formed membership and accreditation committee of Atty. Billy Sumagui.