AMID the issue surrounding possible violations of some collegiate teams of government health and safety protocols in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) joined the call to strictly follow the guidelines, particularly in ensuring the safety of students.
Now part of the group investigating the University of Santo Tomas men’s basketball team and National University women’s volleyball squad, the CHEd, which supervises tertiary education in the country, reiterated that applicable guidelines are in place and must be heeded by all concerned.
The UST Growling Tigers and the NU Lady Bulldogs are currently in hot water over alleged training bubbles they conducted when such are still prohibited.
It has been reported that the Tigers holed themselves up in Capuy, Sorsogon, hometown of coach Aldin Ayo, beginning in June as part of their preparation for Season 83 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines targeted to begin early next year.
The Lady Bulldogs, meanwhile, allegedly did the same when they gathered to train in a sports facility in Laguna.
The alleged training bubbles, if proven to be true, were in direct violation of government health and safety protocols put out as mitigating measures against the spread of the coronavirus.
As per existing regulations, sports activities, including training, are widely prohibited at this point of the pandemic.
“Safety of our students is the topmost concern,” said CHEd Chairman Prospero De Vera III in a statement following a virtual meeting held on Wednesday to look into the issue.
In the meeting as well were officials of the UAAP, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Games and Amusements Board (GAB) and the Department of Health (DoH).
The PSC, GAB and DoH are part of the body created by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to oversee that return of sports activities in the country amid the pandemic.
Mr. Vera said as early as March when the pandemic was starting to make its presence felt, their agency already released advisories and guidelines reminding the students to stay home.
These, he said, were consistent with the guidelines issued by the IATF and the joint administrative order of the PSC, GAB and DoH.
The bodies are set to reconvene on Sept. 1 to hear out officials of UST and NU and come up with a decision on possible sanctions and penalties if needed. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo