IATF green-lights more horse racing days

Published June 4, 2021, 12:27 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

The government’s pandemic task force has allowed the Philippine Racing Commission (PhilRaCom) to have two more racing days starting next month.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed the two additional racing days beginning July 1, 2021.

The two more racing days, however, should still comply with approved health and safety protocols and the use of fully functional contact tracing application/s of off-track betting stations.

Last week, the IATF allowed the limited operations of off-track betting stations of the Philippine Racing Commission in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ (MGCQ).

Off-track betting stations may resume operations limited to selling tickets only in areas under the said quarantine classifications and subject to strict observance of minimum public health standards.

Last month, the IATF allowed the conduct of horse-racing activities in areas under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) under a no-audience set-up. Initially, only online and TeleBet activities in the National Capital Region-plus (NCR-plus) bubble area were allowed to operate.

It took six months before the IATF allowed the resumption of Philippine horse racing in September last year. Horse racing was one of the establishments forced to close down during the lockdown due to the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Philippine horse racing was once again suspended when Metro Manila and nearby provinces reverted to ECQ due to the alarming spike in COVID-19 cases.

The industries that were prohibited from operating under the ECQ and MECQ based on Section 3(5)(f) Omnibus Guidelines were:

  • Casinos
  • Horse racing
  • Cockfighting and operation of cockpits
  • Lottery and betting shops
  • Other gaming establishments except for the draws conducted by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office

IATF Resolution No. 114 released on May 7 allowed horse-racing activities under the MECQ. The operation of the other establishments under the same list from the Omnibus Guidelines remained prohibited.