PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee President Abraham Tolentino announced on Wednesday that the POC, acting on its capacity as a private entity, will procure coronavirus vaccines for Filipino athletes seeing at the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games later this year. (POC)

THE Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) on Wednesday announced that it will procure coronavirus vaccines for Filipino athletes competing at the Hanoi Southeast Asian (SEA) Games later this year.

POC President Abraham Tolentino said that the local Olympic body, acting on its capacity as a private entity, will start planning and processing vaccine procurement with the end view of helping athletes better prepare for the biennial sporting meet set to take place from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2 in Vietnam.

The announcement came on the heels of the government’s approval to allow private companies to secure vaccines for their work force.

“This is good news for Filipino athletes who will be competing in the Hanoi SEA Games,” Mr. Tolentino, also a member of the House of Representatives, said in a statement.

“Once they get inoculated, they can train with very little fear of getting infected,” he added.

The POC chief said the POC will purchase the vaccine through a $40,000 subsidy from the Olympic Council of Asia.

Earlier, sports tycoon Enrique Razon committed to the POC Moderna vaccines for the country’s representatives to the Tokyo Olympics.

Mr. Tolentino also announced that POC First Vice-President Al Panlilio will head the task force on vaccine procurement.

“It would be up to the task force what brand and when to start the procurement process,” Mr. Tolentino said.

“Whichever is the first available vaccine that will be allowed for procurement, we will get. We cannot choose.”

The Philippines is set to send a 626 athlete-strong (entry by numbers) contingent to the Hanoi SEA Games. They will compete in 39 of the 40 sports programs lined up for the event.