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College student-athletes get gov't approval to resume training

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has given the green light for the resumption of training for college student-athletes, Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Monday.

Roque made the pronouncement after the IATF released Resolution No. 68 on Sept. 3.

In the final ruling of the document, it is stated 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."

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Prospero de Vera III said in an online press conference that training for student-athletes shall only commence once guidelines made by the agency have been released.

A technical working group, headed by CHED Exec. Dir. Atty. Cindy Jaro, will be tasked in overseeing the guidelines, which will be consulted with major collegiate leagues.

De Vera added that all sporting events held in college will be part of the resumption, per the IATF order. As such, the agency will be asking for the help of the national sporting associations to provide specific guidelines for other sports.

The document is projected to finish in three weeks' time.

"Universities know that's happeining in the ground. All the advisories of CHED was done with consultation from the Universities in crafting the guidelines," de Vera said.

Currently, people under the age of 21 are barred from leaving their homes for leisurely activities, but soon, student-athletes in this range will now be allowed to join their teams.

Exemptions will have to be given to the collegiate athletes first in order to train.

De Vera added that the IATF had seen that the joint administrative order, which was only available for professionals was working well, so they decided to include collegiate athletes as well to help with their physical and mental well-being.

"We have to show it works. And the next step is when the league will be done with the help of safety protocols in place."

Games and Amusements Board Chairman Abraham Mitra, along with PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, Chooks-to-Go 3x3 Commissioner Eric Altamirano, and PFL Commissioner Coco Torre, all committed to share their best practices in order to help the cause.

Despite allowing training, face-to-face classes are still barred at least until Jan. 2021, clarified the government official.

Meanwhile, the UAAP said in a statement Monday evening that it is committed to helping craft the guidelines.

"We will be presenting our point of view as an athletic association as well as those of our individual member schools responsible for the care of student-athletes. We will also consider all possible implications as our priority remains the health and safety of student-athletes," the statement said.

The league will be represented in the TWG by Exec. Dir. Atty. Rebo Saguisag and UAAP Committee Chairman on Sports and Rules Kiko Diaz and member Mark Molina.

"As we wait for these guidelines, the UAAP continues to emphasize the importance of health and safety of our student-athletes," the statement closed.