GAB chief sees more local sports events next year

With the rollout of vaccines against COVID-19 in Metro Manila and in nearby provinces, Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra expressed optimism on the resumption of more sports events in the country by next year.

Mitra said that the continued vaccination of Filipinos serves as a good sign for the return of sports events.

“We want sports to resume, we think about the livelihood of pro athletes,” said Mitra as he guested Tuesday during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum online session.

“The future is going to be brighter, ang dami nang bakunado and ang dami pang mababakunahan. In a year mas maganda na ang (situation) but let’s not forget na maski bakunado, let’s not put our guards down.”

The agency that Mitra heads – GAB – is the licensing authority that sanctions professional sports, which include the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), the country’s football league PFL, the Premier Volleyball League, and the Pilipinas 3x3, to name a few.

The resumption of these pro leagues, as well as various local fights for professional boxers since last year, provided the athletes a source of income despite the health crisis.

Mitra said that this would be the focal point of discussion in GAB’s third edition of the Professional Sports Summit – an online program set Wednesday, Sept. 29 to be graced by officials and athletes from different sports and leagues.

"The highlight will be the sharing of information, experiences of the different leagues, on how to cope up with the pandemic, mga precautionary measures ng bawat isa, the health protocols, the challenges, and all the things that they did to overcome,” said Mitra.

“The learning is very valuable. Mahirap kasi yan and magastos yan (holding the bubble tournament).”

Mitra said that this is his last sports summit as he is stepping down by next year with plans to resume his career in public service in his home province in Palawan since he previously served as governor and congressman of the second district.