GAB chief bucks escalation of NCR alert system to Level 2

By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

June 13, 2022, 9:48 pm

MANILA – Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra said he does not prefer putting Metro Manila back under Alert Level 2 despite an uptick in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the province.

Mitra, the former Palawan governor, said bringing back some stringent Covid-19 measures in Metro Manila could drastically stop the momentum of seeing professional sports going back in full bloom.

"We are not in favor of that. Huwag naman. Baka naman maapektuhan uli ang (Let’s do that. It might affect the) professional sports," Mitra said during the Sports on Air podcast on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire said possibility of raising Alert Level 2 on Metro Manila is there should the cases continue to spike in the coming days.

“The possibility would always be there ‘pag nagtuloy-tuloy po ang mga kaso pero ang kailangan pong maintindihan ng ating mga kababayan, we are learning to live with the virus. Alam po nating hindi aalis ang virus na ito. It will stay with us (The possibility would always be there when the cases continue to increase but what the public needs to understand is that we are learning to live with the virus. We know that this virus will not leave. It will stay with us),” Vergeire said.

Currently, Metro Manila is under Alert Level 1, the most lenient quarantine status level, until Wednesday.

This means sports venues are allowed to accommodate fans at full seating capacity.

The Philippine Basketball Association and the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) are holding games in Metro Manila and even in Rizal.

The MPBL has also held games in Batangas City and San Fernando City, Pampanga, and the league is set to hold games in Balanga, Bacoor, Binan, and Legazpi in the coming days.

However, if Metro Manila would be placed under Alert Level 2, the arenas in the region could be prompted to limit fans to 50 percent seating capacity, which will surely affect the pro leagues' revenue-generating measures.

Regardless of Metro Manila's quarantine status, Mitra said the professional sports will remain subject to the joint administrative order between GAB, DOH, and the Philippine Sports Commission. (PNA)