IS University of Santo Tomas liable of violating IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) rules over reports that its men's basketball team held practices and scrimmages in Sorsogon during the quarantine period?
One of the chief architects of the guidelines on the conduct of workouts and conditioning among professional leagues thinks so, if the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 2020-0001 would be the basis.
Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Abraham ‘Baham’ Mitra made it clear that under the JAO, which his office drafted along with the Department of Health (DoH) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), only pro leagues in basketball, football and boxing are allowed to resume training under a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in conformity with the provisions of the said administrative order and other GAB requirements.
“I am in the group that prepared it (JAO), and under the JAO, non-pro athletes are not allowed to practice,” said Mitra. “And UST is not a pro [team].”
Rumors of the Tigers holding team practices in Sorsogon surfaced on Friday at the height of the controversy involving team captain CJ Cansino, who claimed he was yanked out of UST for reasons both parties haven’t divulged.
There were reports about Cansino wanting to go back to Manila after being holed up the past two months together with the rest of the team in a supposed ‘bubble’ in Sorsogon, the province of UST coach Aldin Ayo.
Videos of supposed scrimmages by the Tigers leaked on social media, which had since been taken down by people who uploaded it.
Mitra said he heard about the matter, the reason why the three government agencies that created the JAO would like to hear the side of UST on the issue.
“We agreed to reach out to UST and look into this to spare the IATF (from further) work,” said Mitra. “We will invite them to a Zoom dialogue.”
The suggestion was made by DoH representative Rodley Bautista of the policy and technology section, and PSC counterpart Marc Velasco, the national training director. Mitra volunteered to assist since the UAAP doesn’t fall under GAB jurisdiction.
“We’ll try to reach out to UST through Atty. Rebo (Saguisag, UAAP executive director). I will just assist kasi non-pro ito,” said the GAB chairman.
From what he previously heard, Mitra related the Tigers had been warned by the UAAP before for premature training.
“Nadinig ko na namemohan ang UST dahil nag-training sila sa Manila,” he said. “So they decided to move to Sorsogon.”
As much as possible, Mitra said they’ll try to settle things within their level if indeed, scrimmages were held.
If not, the three government bodies may be forced to elevate the matter to the IATF.
“If it’s beyond us, ibato namin na sa itaas,” said the GAB chief.
UST and coach Ayo have yet to come out with an official statement regarding the issue.
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