MANILA, Philippine -- The Games and Amusements Board (GAB) is ready to penalize violators of the joint administrative order (JAO), which governs the conduct of physical activities and sports during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country's professional leagues -- such as the Philippine Basketball Association, the Philippines Football League, and Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 -- are under the jurisdiction of GAB.
These leagues have been given clearance to resume training sessions as long as the strict health and safety protocols enumerated in the JAO are followed. However, this resumption has been delayed after President Rodrigo Duterte put Metro Manila and neighboring provinces under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) due to rising COVID-19 cases.
GAB chairman Baham Mitra said Tuesday that their organization trusts the leagues' capability to self-regulate and monitor their teams' compliance of the administrative order.
"'Yung mga leagues naman, sila mismo, nauunahan nga parati 'yung GAB. Parang ano kami, we want to hear both sides, due process," he said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
"We are doing several things; unlike sila, nakatutok sila. PBA, nakatutok sa PBA; PFF, nakatutok sa PFF. So medyo mabilis-bilis lang sila ng kaunti sa amin," he added.
Nonetheless, they are prepared to step in should there be flagrant violations of the terms of the administrative order.
"Since sa amin binigay 'yung load, kami na po 'yung magi-impose ng sanctions," said Mitra.
Section 9 of the administrative order allows for penalties "for any willful failure to comply" with the JAO.
Before the JAO was signed and came to effect, the PBA sanctioned the Blackwater Elite for an early return to practice, fining them P100,000. Upon reviewing the case, GAB gave the team owners and officials a "stern warning."
Mitra said they will make sure to work with the leagues involved should any violations of the administrative order occur.
"In case something happens, there may be violations, we will be there. Kung pwedeng joint suspension or joint warning," he said.
"Eventually, later on, kung talagang paulit-ulit, eh pwede po sigurong suspendihin, at eventually kung talagang matigas ang ulo, tanggalan na po ng license. We can do that dahil meron na rin pong JAO," he added.
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