Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez on Monday said that sports facilities under the management of the agency are ready if the government would need them as isolation and treatment facilities for COVID-19 patients and persons under monitoring and investigation.
“First, we have to consult our medical doctors and nurses. Kung order ng Malacanang, susundin po natin," Ramirez told the Manila Standard.
In a virtual presser broadcast by various TV networks, Department of Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said some hospitals will be converted into special facilities that will cater only to COVID-19 patients.
But they need more facilities to segregate the levels of COVID-19 exposure—the patients undergoing treatment, person under monitoring (PUM) and person under investigation (PUI).
The PSC has three major stadiums—Rizal Memorial Stadium and the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila and the PSC Arena in Pasig City--which can be converted by the DOH into COVID-19 centers.
Meanwhile, Ramirez also assured that everyone's safety is the PSC’s priority and scheduling of national or international sports events will have to be pushed back in order to achieve this.
“We are on lockdown, but we try our best to keep updated of our athletes' and employees' status,” he said.
The PSC has been keeping “virtual offices” for reporting and updating.
Ramirez also said that “as of now, I am thankful that no athlete, coach or employee has beeb reported positive of the COVID-19. We hope it stays that way.”
The present situation of the nation has greatly affected the sporting community, with most events being indefinitely postponed.
Recently, the 10th ASEAN Paragames Organizing Committee (PHILAPGOC) announced the third rescheduling of the parames in light of the present global pandemic, setting the new target month for October.
Ramirez explained that if the present situation persists, deciding the schedule of such events would be in the hands of the government.
“I understand the goals and dreams of the organizing committee, but in this national crisis, it would be the government’s advice or decision which will be heeded since there are other factors which need to be considered,” he explained.
In early February, the PSC announced the postponement of all its events and strongly urged the PHILAPGOC to also consider rescheduling its games, which they eventually did. The Games were moved to March.
Meantime, athletes continue to train at home, optimistic that things will go back to “business as usual” soon.
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