Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino announced Wednesday, April 7, it would procure COVID-19 vaccines as a private entity for athletes bound to the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam late this year.
The announcement came after Malacañang allowed private companies to secure for their workplace.
“This is good news for Filipino athletes who will be competing in the Hanoi SEA Games,” Tolentino said, adding it will use the $40,000 subsidy from the Olympic Council of Asia to purchase the vaccine.
The country has sent an entry by number of 626 athletes to the SEAG Organizing Committee to compete in 39 of 40 sports. Entry by name will be finalized in the coming months.
Tolentino has already appointed POC First Vice President Al Panlilio to chair the task force on the COVID-19 vaccine procurement, where it would decide which brand they would procure for the athletes.
The Task Force will also decide on when to start the procurement process.
“Whichever is the first available vaccine that will be allowed for procurement, we will get. We cannot choose,” Tolentino said.
The SEAG is scheduled Nov. 21 to Dec. 2.
Business tycoon Enrique Razon earlier committed to procure vaccines for athletes and coaches bound for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, which is expected late May or early June.
Only men’s middleweight boxer Eumir Felix Marcial was inoculated with the vaccine in Las Vegas as he trains Los Angeles, California, since October last year at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym.
Other Olympic qualifiers boxers Carlo Paalam, Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno, Carlos Yulo and pole vaulter EJ Obiena have yet to be vaccinated.