UAAP sold on IATF ruling on return to training

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    ACTUAL training is still a no-go for now, but the UAAP and the Commission on Higher Education have their work cut out for them after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases green-lighted the collegiate league teams’ return to gyms.

    Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the IATF gave the nod for the return to training of collegiate athletes based on the IATF Resolution No. 68 released last Sept. 3.

    The resolution said that student collegiate athletic associations as defined under Republic Act No. 10676 or the Student-Athletes Protection Act “shall be allowed to resume their preparatory trainings in areas under General Community Quarantine and Modified General Community Quarantine, subject to guidelines as may be issued by the Commission on Higher Education.”

    While the NCAA is not entirely sold on the idea, the UAAP, which is eyeing to launch its 83rd season, set to be hosted by La Salle early next year, welcomed the decision.

    “The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) acknowledges the decision of the Commission on Higher Education to create a technical working group that will craft guidelines for the return to training of collegiate athletes,” the UAAP said in a statement last Monday night.

    “The UAAP is committed to helping with this initiative as one of the stakeholders of collegiate sports in the country.”

    UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag, league committee chairman on sports and rules dean Francisco Diaz of University of the Philippines, and Far Eastern University athletics director Mark Molina, a member of the committee, will represent the UAAP in the CHED technical working group that will craft the proper health and safety guidelines for student-athletes expected to be released in two to three weeks from now.

    CHED executive director Atty. Cinderella Filipina Benitez-Jaro will head the TWG that will anchor the guidelines on what the pro leagues such as the PBA, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3, and Philippines Football League are already following in their training.

    The IATF’s decision came on the heels of allegations that University of Santo Tomas breached the government’s stringent COVID-19 health protocols after the squad held a bubble training at the hometown of former coach Aldin Ayo in Capuy, Sorsogon City in mid-June.

    The National University women’s volleyball team is also under scrutiny after the Lady Bulldogs reportedly held workouts at their Sampaloc and Laguna campuses.

    The UAAP Board of Managing Directors has reportedly recommended to the Board of Trustees sanctions on Ayo for being liable in the Sorsogon bubble.

    The Board of Trustees has yet to announce its decision, while the CHED passed the buck to the Department of Justice and Department of Interior and Local Government to probe whether UST and NU indeed violated health rules.

    Show cause orders were issued to UST and NU for violating the CHED’s advisories that “prohibited mass gatherings such as ceremonies and school activities, until the IATF prohibition is lifted.”

    The Sports Joint Administrative Order group, composed of the Games and Amusements Board, Department of Health, and Philippine Sports Commission, also submitted to the DOJ and DILG last Monday a report for possible violations of IATF and local ordinances rules.