Philippine Sports Commissioner Mon Fernandez is encouraging national sports associations (NSAs) to look for local government units who can help them set up bubble training for athletes bound for the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam late this year.
Fernandez, also the country’s chief of mission to the SEAG, said the government sports agency couldn’t handle the logistics and finance of housing all 39 sports since they were only allocated P200 million for the biennial meet.
The P100 million, Fernandez said, will be used for the actual participation of the Games slated Nov. 21 to Dec. 2, while the other P100 million are set aside for training expenses.
Based on their expenses for the three sports who trained inside the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna for three months, the PSC has already shelled out P21 million.
“Imposible na makayanan ng PSC i-shoulder yun lahat, so I’m asking NSAs to think out of the box,” Fernandez said in the Philippine Sports Association Online Forum Tuesday, April 13.
“Makiusap tayo sa mga LGUs to help our athletes. Maghati-hati tayo. Dito mati-test natin ngayon kung nakaka-unite ba talaga ang sports.”
Some NSAs have actually been doing Fernandez’s proposal by holding bubble trainings in provinces for their athletes seeking Olympic berths. National archers are training in Dumaguete City, fencers in Ormoc, weightlifters in Zamboanga, and canoe kayak paddlers in Tacloban.
Fernandez said there are a lot of provinces that have facilities for the athletes such as Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, Bicol, Cebu, Bohol and Antique, to name a few.
“I’m hoping to meet with Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) officials and President Bambol Tolentino to fine-tune the details of this proposal, if it’s workable or not,” he said.
Athletes have seven months to prepare for the SEAG. Fernandez hopes three months would be enough for athletes to perform their best in the biennial meet.
“To be very competitive, it’s hard to say. But thinking from an athlete’s point of view, hindi naman tumitigil ang mga iyan sa pag-eensayo araw-araw. I can only wish they are okay physically and mentally,” Fernandez said.
The PSC still continues its operations despite undergoing a 10-day lockdown starting Tuesday after 63 of its employees tested positive of the COVID-19 virus.