PBA, other pro sports get green light to resume practices

The PBA and other professional sports are now allowed to resume training after the joint administrative order (JAO) signed by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Department of Health (DOH) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB) was released Monday.

The JAO was endorsed by GAB chairman Abraham Mitra, PSC chair Butch Ramirez and DOH secretary Francisco Duque III.

"Finally, the wait is over-- the JAO has been signed," Mitra said in a statement. "We are so happy and excited that finally after more than four months our professional football and basketball players can now shake off some pounds they may have acquired during the quarantine. We expect them to practice maybe for a month or two to be match fit and hopefully when quarantine levels go down, they may be allowed to eventually play. It is effective immediately."

"We all recognize the importance sport plays in building one's strong immune system, what we just wanted to ensure was that they keep safe and away from the virus while they are doing it," Ramirez said in a statement.

This order covers professional and non-professional sports and activities under GAB and PSC, respectively, as well as professional and non-professional players including coaches, managers, promoters, athletic directors and other personnel, among others.

Under the JAO's risk severity rating, a maximum of five players in basketball and football can hold workouts in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ). In a modified GCQ setup, a maximum of 10 are allowed to practice.

The JAO also contains a penalty clause and says fines and legal actions will be slapped on violators of any provisions.

Though teams are already allowed to practice, Mitra said GAB will still meet with the PBA and PFF to discuss additional safety measures.

"We will be sitting with PFF and PBA separately to try to introduce additional safety measures to make sure that health protocols are put in place. Better safe than sorry. This is just practice, but this will be a make-or-break period if we can move on to resume actual tournaments," he said.