Mikee Romero wants to prioritize vaccination of Tokyo-bound athletes

Published January 26, 2021, 4:30 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

House Deputy Speaker and 1Pacman Partylist Representative Mikee Romero is espousing a house resolution that will prioritize the national athletes for the country’s vaccination program.

Romero said Filipino athletes could be considered as frontliners since they are also sacrificing for the country.

Read: Vaccine for Olympic-bound athletes a big boost–Velasco

The resolution would focus on prioritizing first the elite athletes who are bound to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics late July, as well as the 2021 Vietnam Southeast Asian Games late November.

“Sa order of priority kasi, ang uunahin dyan are the senior citizens and the medical and military frontliners. Ang mga athletes, baka nasa baba pa. So ang gagawin lang naman natin, papantayan lang natin ang mga frontliners,” Romero said in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters’ Association Online Forum.

Romero added the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has already come up with a policy that all competitors to Tokyo “should and would be vaccinated.”

“That’s the standard ngayon ng IOC and the Tokyo Organizing Committee so I think it would be safe,” Romero said.

Read: PH athletes unalarmed amid rumors of Olympics cancellation

Romero said vaccines might be available in the country in March or April with the House of Representatives allotting 80 million vaccines to 40 million Filipinos for the double dosage.

So far, the country only has four Olympic qualifiers in pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno. But select athletes have already resumed training for upcoming qualifying with hopes of landing Olympic berths.

In fact, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has organized a training bubble for athletes in taekwondo, boxing and karatedo for 90 days at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.

Romero is optimistic more athletes would still qualify to Tokyo in the coming months and eventually win that elusive first Olympic gold medal for the country.

“Hopefully, mas marami ngayong (qualifiers). We’re hoping to get the gold (medal). Sana ma-nail na natin yun kasi matagal na rin nating hinihintay yon,” Romero said.

“It’s long overdue.”

Romero, who also happens to be a polo athlete, is also doing his best to come up with programs and resolutions to improve Philippine sports.

They are working on converting New Clark City, one of the main venues in the 2019 SEAG that the country hosted, as training venues for athletes like athletics and swimming.

“I think most athletes na dati nagti-train in Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, kailangang mag-base na sa New Clark City because the facilities are there already. Sana matapos na yung paggamit ng facilities doon for quarantine,” Romero said.

Romero said he wanted to concentrate on building training centers to as many athletes as possible and getting more budget appropriated for the PSC for the athletes.