Basketball during lockdown? Yorme advises leniency: ‘Rules are given heart’

Apr 29, 2021
PHOTO: (From Left) Manila Public Information Office, Ruslan/Unsplash

WHEN IT comes to implementing the government’s stay-at-home lockdown rules, Manila mayor Isko Moreno sees himself as a realist.

“The reality? People will go out. Especially if you have a 10-square meter house na yero ang bubong in the middle of April. That is reality,” he said to SPIN Life in a forum with various Summit Media editors. “We are certain about our rules. But at the same time, rules are given heart.”

The 46-year-old mayor continued: “Okay, eto letra [ng batas]. Yan ang sinabi. Pero as leaders, you still have to be human."

At all levels of quarantine, from ECQ to MGCQ, mass public gatherings are prohibited, with sporting events explicitly named in the IATF's omnibus guidelines. Earlier this year, before the new ECQ was imposed over NCR+, controversy flared up when some amateur leagues were reported operating in several provincial LGUs.

In his own city, Moreno tends to give his citizens a little leeway. In the case of basketball, he leaves it up to the police to exercise their judgment.

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“Yung mga basketball kasi — halimbawa, tatluhan — e wag lang masakit sa mata. Yung masakit sa mata na parang, wala nang gobyerno. Medyo hindi ko tino-tolerate. Pero sa tingin ko naman, yung pagiging makatao, we’re trying to be as sensitive as much as possible, that you really understand your people,” he said.

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Another measure that Yorme says helps out in implementation was the presence of “COVID safety marshals” last year. Former traffic enforcers, they took on a new duty: go around Manila’s various communities and verbally remind people to follow health protocols.

“Lahat ng community, magdala ng megaphone, saway-saway. Laway-laway lang. Saway lang tayo nang saway. Constant reminder. Ganun namin siyang in-approach,” recalled Moreno.

Still, the city has needed to do its fair share of apprehensions of violations of the sporting events ban. In one instance, officials caught a cockfighting ring in operation. “Sabi nila sports raw yun,” the mayor said. “Lahat sila nasa hoyo. Puro kaso inabot nila.”

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PHOTO: (From Left) Manila Public Information Office, Ruslan/Unsplash
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