Health of athletes, Filipinos remains a top priority as gov’t start assessing preps for Tokyo Olympics says Go

Health of athletes, Filipinos remains a top priority as gov’t start assessing preps for Tokyo Olympics says Go

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go urged health authorities and
experts to regularly assess the pandemic situation amid the possible
cancellation of the 2021 Summer Olympics set to be held from July 23
to August 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

In a statement, Go said that this comes after increasing anxiety is
felt around the globe towards the COVID-19 Delta variant which has
been reported to be more contagious.

In an interview right after attending the launch of the Malasakit
Center in Masbate Provincial Hospital in Masbate City on June 28, Go
said that the government will continue to assess the situation with
utmost priority for protecting the health of Filipinos.

“Habang papalapit na po ang Tokyo Olympics sa July 23, timbangin po
natin ang kapakanan, buhay, at kalusugan ng bawat Filipino.
Isaalang-alang po natin parati na delikado po itong COVID-19,
especially with the Delta variant,” said Go, chair of both Senate
Committees on Health and on Sports

On Saturday, June 26, protests took place in Tokyo, calling for the
2021 Olympic Games to be canceled due to the possible COVID-19
outbreak in Japan. Another major issue expressed by several of the
protesters were the vaccination situation in Japan as reports claim low
immunization rates.

Meanwhile, Go emphasized, however, that the health and well-being of
the athletes and all Filipinos will always be the government’s top
priority.

“Para sa akin po, importante po ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino. Ang pera
po’y kikitain natin, subalit ‘yung perang kikitain ay hindi po
nabibili ang buhay,” said Go.

“A lost life is a lost life forever. Importante sa akin ang buhay.
Pwede naman nating ipagpaliban ‘yan kung kakailanganin,” he added.

Earlier, Go successfully appealed to the government to include in the
priority list for COVID-19 vaccination the Filipino athletes and other
delegates who will be competing or participating in the upcoming
Olympics and the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, both this year.

Meanwhile, Go assured that the Senate Committee on Health, in
coordination with health authorities and experts, continue to monitor
developments and measures against COVID-19 especially amid emerging
variants.

“We will continue to monitor the situation especially the Delta
variant na sinasabing four times more contagious. Dapat po maagapan na
hindi po kumalat dahil talaga pong delikado itong Delta variant na
ito,” said Go.

“We cannot afford to risk the lives and health ng ating mga atleta, ng
ating mga kapwa Pilipino,” he added.

But while nothing is official yet regarding the cancellation of the
Games, Go said that the athletes must continue to prepare and train in
a safe manner in accordance with health standards.

“Sa ngayon po, ituloy lang po ang preparasyon. Isa po ako sa nagsulong
na mabakunahan ang ating mga atleta na sasali na makikipag-compete
doon sa Tokyo Olympics,” he noted, while expressing that there is
still that possibility of the Games getting cancelled as lives are
more important.

“Puwede naman ang Olympics sa ibang panahon. Pero ‘yung buhay po hindi
naibabalik… Kaya importante po sa akin ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino.
Unahin natin ang buhay at kapakanan ng ating kababayan,” he ended.

An advocate for sports development, Go has been pushing for measures
to protect the welfare and promote the betterment of athletes towards
the country’s sports renaissance. Previously, he assured his support
for the planned construction of the Philippine Sports Training Center
in Bataan.

Signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in February 2019, Republic Act No.
11214 provides for the creation of the PSTC which seeks “to promote
and develop sports in the country, to achieve excellence in
international sports competitions, to ensure success in the country’s
quest to achieve competitiveness in the Olympic Games and to promote
international amity among nations.”

Not to be confused with the National Academy of Sports (NAS), Go said
that both facilities are the government’s gifts to national athletes.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law RA No. 11470 which
establishes the National Academy of Sports in June last year. Go was
one of the authors of the measure.

He also praised Duterte for his approval of the timely release of the
budget for the construction of the facilities and amenities of the
NAS. The government released a total of P729 million to cover the
construction costs, including civil works requirements; fixtures,
furniture, and equipment; and consultancy services (AI/MTVN)

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