MANILA, Philippines -- Business tycoon Enrique Razon, chairman of the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), will provide the country's Olympic-bound athletes and coaches with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Razon made the assurance during a meeting with Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino on Tuesday.
"We would like to thank Mr. Enrique Razon for providing our Olympics-bound athletes with vaccines," said Tolentino.
"Rest assured, our athletes would be protected from the virus as they escalate their training and preparation for Tokyo."
Four Filipinos are already assured of spots in the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo -- boxers Irish Magno and Eumir Marcial, world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo, and pole vaulter EJ Obiena.
Others are on the brink of qualifying, particularly weightlifter and Rio Games silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, and golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan. Several boxers, karatekas, and taekwondo jins are currently training for their upcoming qualifying tournaments in the coming months.
"I'm sure that with the generosity of Mr. Razon, especially in these difficult times, would further spur our athletes to focus on the Olympics without fear of getting infected," said Tolentino.
Razon was earlier reported to be bringing into the country 20 million doses of the mRNA-1273 vaccine developed by US-based Moderna. The Moderna vaccine was reported to cost $26 each, or approximately P1,250.
The Tokyo Olympics is set for July 23 to August 8 in Tokyo, having been postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tolentino is confident that the Games will push through, despite escalating COVID-19 cases in Japan and the dwindling public support for the event.
"I am a positive person. The Olympics will happen, the International Olympic Committee, and the host country [Japan] will make it happen," said Tolentino.
"We only have one plan and that is to win a gold medal in the Olympics. There's no Plan B so let's not even think that it won't push through," he stressed.
The Tokyo organizers have already released a "playbook" earlier this month, with strict guidelines that includes wearing masks "at all times" except when eating, sleeping or outdoors. According to the playbook, vaccination is not a requirement to participate in the Games.