YESTERDAY night, shortly after the announcement that Metro Manila would ease into Alert Level 2, a listener of DZMM Teleradyo fielded a question to Department of Interior and Local Government undersecretary Epimaco V. Densing III, who was a guest at the station’s “S.R.O> (Suhestyon, Reaksyon at Opinyon)” program.
The listener wanted to know if “basketball or any kind of kalsada play, pwede na po ba sa Alert Level 2?”
Here’s an exact transcript of Densing’s response. You can start listening in to the exchange at 29:30 in this video:
“Pwede na po. Pati contact sports, allowed na rin sa Alert Level 2. Maluwag na talaga tayo sa Alert Level 2. Ang restrictions lang doon sa 3 Cs.” (These “three Cs”, as explained by the DILG back in September 10, refer to “closed or indoor places, crowded areas, and close contacts,” according to a CNN Philippines report.)
To which host Alvin Elchico responded, “Naku po, di kayo natatakot?”
“Meron na po yong pag-aaral. In-endorse ito ng ating health experts, yung technical advisory group na group of health experts natin. Pinag-aralan naman po iyan, at malinaw po nung pinag-aralan namin yan sa STWG ang data analytics na itong mga bagay na ito ay medyo low-risk na, pag ang nakapaligid, ang kapiligiran mo ay low-risk na rin yung environment, [yung] case data for COVID-19,” replied Densing.
He continued: “Confident po kami na hindi ito magkakaroon ng major effect maski mga contact sports kasi yung importante po dito, inuulit ko dito, yung bakuna. Kasi pag nabakunahan na tayo, nag-create tayo ng herd immunity. Pag mas marami kayong bakunado kaysa sa mga hindi bakunado, yung pagkahawa-hawa will become very minimal.”
Basketball under Alert Level 2
Densing’s pronouncements — surely a relief for ballers, weekend warriors, and athletes everywhere — tracks with the Alert Level guidelines released by the government. However, the IATF guidelines add an additional caveat: Contact sports must be first greenlit by the LGU.
Take a look at the IATF’s “Guidelines on the Implementation of Alert Levels System for COVID-19 Response In Pilot Areas”, updated on October 13. You can view the full document here.
Section 5.3 details the “establishments, or activities” that are allowed to operate, or “be undertaken at a maximum of 50% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and those below 18 years of age, even if unvaccinated, and 70% outdoor venue capacity.”
Furthermore, the listed activities or establishments will only be allowed if “all workers/employees of these establishments are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and MPHS shall be strictly maintained. Provided further, that there is no objection from the LGU where these activities may take place.” (Note: MPHS refers to 'minimum public health standards.')
Contact sports are included as part of this list of allowed activities. However, Section 5.3.o emphasizes that these contact sports must be “approved by the LGU where such games shall be held.”
So before suiting up for games, check up with your local barangay first, and wait for their official announcement.