House panel OKs resolution prioritizing PH athletes in vax program

Lawmakers on Tuesday expressed hope that the national government will prioritize Filipino athletes, who will participate in the Tokyo Olympics and the 2021 Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, in the COVID-19 vaccination program.

This came after the House of Representatives Committee on Youth and Sports Development adopted House Resolution 1507 urging the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and other concerned agencies to classify athletes as “frontliners” to have them prioritized in the vaccination process.

At a congressional hearing, Re. Faustino Dy III, chairman of the committee, backed the resolution filed by Rep. Michael Romero of 1-Pacman. 

Dy said athletes, who will join other international sports competitions must also be in the list of those to be prioritized in the inoculation program.

Romero said in his resolution that national athletes would undergo qualifying stages for the Tokyo Olympics and South East Asian Games in April and May of this year.

“It is imperative that our national athletes should be classified as frontliners, in order to prioritize their vaccination against COVID-19 in the soonest possible time, to ensure that they will be allowed to participate in the qualifying stages,” the resolution read.

“The State recognizes the importance of sports development to foster social progress and promote total human development. The State also recognizes the tireless and selfless sacrifice of our national athletes,” it added.

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics that was originally set for July 24 to August 9, 2020. 

The Games are currently scheduled to open in just over six months, on July 23.

Meanwhile, Romero thanked the committee for adopting his resolution.

“I thank our esteemed colleagues in the Committee on Youth and Sports Development for sharing my vision and supporting my goal of helping our olympians bring home the country’s first Olympic gold despite the challenges they face during this pandemic,” Romero said.

He said having the Filipino athletes included in the priority list would help them prepare early in their tournaments.

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