JAO allows only pro leagues to resume practice

San Miguel Beer's Terrence Romeo, center, drives past Magnolia players during the first match of the postponed Philippine Cup last March. (PBA Images)

The government agencies that formed the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) Friday issued a clarification that only professional leagues can return to action should it be allowed later this month.

Composed of the Department of Health, Philippine Sports Commission and Games and Amusements Board, the group made it clear only pro leagues are given the green light under GAB guidelines.

In the JAO letter dated August 14, 2020, it said: “Professional leagues are encouraged to develop their health safety protocols and guidelines on the resumption of training and activities during the COVD-19 pandemic in conformity with provisions of the PSC-GAB-DOH JAO and other GAB requirements.”

Under the jurisdiction of GAB led by its chairman Baham Mitra are the Philippine Basketball Association, Philippine Football League and Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3.

Together with the pro boxers, and gamers from the esports section The Nationals, PBA and PFL players and their respective teams will be allowed once Metro Manila returns to the General Community Quarantine.

Mitra signed the JAO guidelines last July 27, 2020 together with PSC chairman Butch Ramirez and health secretary Francisco Duque III.

The PBA was supposed to start last August 12 but the government ordered the return of Mega Manila to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine or MECQ from August 4 to 18.

If the government’s implementing body, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IAFT) on Emerging Infectious Diseases, decides to return Metro Manila to GCQ, then the pro athletes will be allowed to start training.

Also, under the same JAO guidelines, health-enhancing physical activities like exercise and sports are allowed under the jurisdiction of the PSC and GAB “subject to the observance of the minimum public health standards.”

“The general public may be allowed to conduct activities and exercise to promote physical health and resilience subject to the allowable threshold of the said JAO,” the statement added.

The IATF previously approved sports activities for the general public like golf, running, biking, swimming, tennis, badminton, equestrian and skateboarding.