By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
RECOGNIZING the potential risk of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) getting worse, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on Thursday moved for the postponement of several of its managed events lined up.
In a press conference held at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila, PSC officials, led by Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, said they came to a decision to postpone events scheduled for the next few months to guard participants against the ongoing nCoV outbreak affecting different parts of the world, including the Philippines.
Affected with the decision were the National Sports Summit which was initially scheduled for Feb. 27 to 28; the Philippine National Games, targeted to be held in May; and seminar/events which shall gather participants of more than 40.
The PSC also shared that it advised the Philippine Paralympic Committee (PPC) for the ASEAN Para Games set for March to be deferred in light of the current situation but was leaving it to the PPC to decide fully.
“I was in conversation with my immediate supervisors [on Wednesday] about the situation. And this morning we have decided to postpone PSC-managed events. We’re doing so for fear of people being exposed to the coronavirus,” said Mr. Ramirez during the press conference, where he was joined by other PSC officials and sports stakeholders.
The National Sports Summit, which was set to happen at the Philippine International Convention Center, was to gather top sports specialists and educators for a series of lectures and workshops all in the hopes of improving sports development in the country.
The Philippine National Games meanwhile, is a multi-sport event scheduled to take place at the Rizal Memorial and Philsports Complex in Pasig City.
“We are taking this very seriously. We have been listening to what the World Health Organization is saying about the virus and we took that into consideration,” Mr. Ramirez said.
The PSC, as a body, said it will continue to be on the lookout on how the nCoV plays out in the coming weeks and months and would decide accordingly as things go along.
TO BE DEFERRED ANEW?
Meanwhile, the nCoV issue risks the ASEAN Para Games being postponed anew.
The event for the differently abled athletes, which usually happens immediately after the SEA Games, was scheduled to take place from Jan. 18 to 25 this year but was deferred to March 20 to 28 because of lack of funds on the part of the PSC, which was tasked to fund the event.
PPC president Michael Barredo, who was also present at yesterday’s press conference, confirmed that they were advised by the PSC to postpone the Games once again but said they would first consult with the ASEAN Paralympics Federation and other federations in the region.
“We are aware of the situation and danger and at the end of the day what is important is the safety of the para athletes. We’ll just discuss it first with our federation before deciding,” Mr. Barredo said.
The PPC head went on to say that for now their preparation continues until such time a final decision is made.