By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Host Vietnam is enforcing a “no vaccine, no participation” policy in the 31st Southeast Asian Games slated late this year.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino announced this following an online meeting with the SEAG Federation last Tuesday, saying that the biennial meet will still push through but with a strict vaccination protocol against COVID-19.
“Their policy (no vaccine, no participation) is for the good of everyone,” Tolentino said in a statement.
Tolentino also said they have already written to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to prioritize SEAG-bound delegates, adding that they are ready to take any vaccine brand.
Most of the athletes from other Southeast Asia countries are already fully vaccinated, according to Tolentino.
Tolentino added they have already advised various National Sports Associations (NSAs) to identify the athletes who will be prioritized for the vaccination program.
The POC plans to send 626 athletes to compete in 39 sports.
“Before we fly to Vietnam, everyone should be vaccinated. Or better yet, before the NSAs start training their athletes face-to-face,” Tolentino said.
POC first vice president Al Panlilio, who is in charge of the purchasing of vaccines, assured the athletes will be vaccinated as soon as it becomes available.
The POC has a standing $40,000 grant from the Olympic Council of Asia to purchase the vaccines.