POC hoping to inoculate Tokyo-bound athletes next month

Published April 17, 2021, 3:49 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) First Vice President Al Panlilio hopes athletes and coaches bound to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics late July would be vaccinated by next month.

Panlilio, who heads the task force for vaccine procurement for athletes, said they are working with the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) owned by Enrique Razon after the business tycoon committed to provide vaccines for Olympic-bound athletes and coaches.

“Hopefully by May maipasok na yan in time for the Olympics,” said Panlilio during his guesting with Noli Eala’s Power and Play program Saturday, April 17.

The Olympics will be held on July 23 to Aug. 8. Although organizers do not require athletes to get vaccinated, PH sports officials are still after the health and safety of the athletes.

“It is our responsibility to make sure our athletes are safe. It’s good to be on the safe side by vaccinating our athletes. Mas mabuti na meron silang protection rather than bahala na,” Panlilio said.

“My task is to really work with the government asking permission from the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) to prioritize athletes especially the Olympians kasi sila ang mauuna.”

Panlilio said athletes bound to the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam late November would follow, hopefully by June.

“First major tranches will come in June especially for the Moderna vaccines. Hopefully, I could reserve for the 1,200 athletes and delegates. Yun ang unang gagawin namin. We have a bit of time for our SEAG athletes,” Panlilio said.

The Olympic Council of Asia has allocated a $40,000 (around P2 million) subsidy to the POC for vaccine procurement, although Panlilio said they are still looking for other source of funding as contingency if the allocation is not enough.

So far, the country has six Olympic qualifiers although more athletes are still searching for berths in qualifying tournaments in the coming months.

The country, meanwhile, has submitted 626 entry by number to the SEAG Organizing Committee for the biennial meet scheduled Nov. 21 to Dec. 2.