Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino announced there are three local government units (LGUs) offering assistance to national sports associations (NSAs) seeking bubble training for their athletes preparing for the 31st Southeast Asian Games.
Tolentino, also Tagaytay City’s Representative, said he is willing to host national teams from cycling and kickboxing while Sta. Rosa, Laguna Mayor Arlene Arcillas and Taguig City Mayor Lino Cayetano have also offered, as well.
The development came after sports commissioner Mon Fernandez recently encouraged NSAs and LGUs to join forces in providing athletes proper training venues amid restrictions brought by the pandemic.
Tolentino said the proposal of an NSA-LGU teamup is not easy, so he took the initiative to call some friends and acquaintances willing to help the cause.
“Yung ganung project kasi, you need a memo from the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) to do that. So in the absence of that, I called some friends who have the passion to help sports,” said Tolentino during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Online Forum Tuesday, April 20.
Sta. Rosa has agreed to host 50 athletes while Taguig City will accommodate teams from volleyball and table tennis.
Tolentino said he is still talking to two more LGUs willing to follow suit.
“Huwag na muna tayong umasa sa PSC venues. Hayaan na muna natin yon as medical facilities dahil kailangan yun ngayon. Itong mga ino-offer ng facilities, kunin na natin. Hindi na tayo pwedeng mamili,” Tolentino said.
Athletes’ training were hampered due to restrictions after NCR and nearby provinces were placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). Training resumption is set July 1 with hopes that it would be enough for the SEAG set late November in Vietnam.
At the moment, NCR Plus is under Modified ECQ. Tolentino said they will work on the exemption from the government so that athletes could train should this restriction still push through on the said training date.
The POC sent 626 entries by number to the SEAG Organizing Committee to participate in 39 of 40 sports of the biennial meet.