MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) The Philippines' professional sports leagues were eager to share their best practices with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Monday, as the organization is set to craft a set of guidelines for collegiate leagues.
Professional teams of the PBA, the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3, and the Philippines Football League (PFL) have already begun training, after getting the nod of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). A joint administrative order (JAO) signed by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), and the Department of Health (DOH) governs the conduct of sports and physical activities during this time of COVID-19.
GAB chairman Baham Mitra invited representatives of the three leagues to share how they are currently conducting their practices, with CHED chairman Popoy de Vera welcoming their input when the pro leagues made their presentations on Monday afternoon.
The PBA was represented by deputy commissioner Eric Castro, the PFL was represented by commissioner Coco Torre, and Chooks 3x3 was represented by commissioner Eric Altamirano.
"I specifically requested the pro leagues to present, so we can get lessons on what they are doing on the ground, so this can be incorporated in the guidelines that we will issue for collegiate sports," De Vera explained in a press conference.
De Vera had announced that CHED is forming a technical working group, together with representatives of the PSC, DOH, GAB and collegiate leagues to craft a set of guidelines for student-athletes.
This came after the IATF also allowed collegiate athletes to resume training in areas with relaxed quarantine measures.
"I think what is important is, the systems they have put in are working," he noted. "These are actually things that we can learn from."
The professional leagues shared the protocols that are strictly being followed by their players and teams ever since they began practicing again some two weeks ago.
The PBA players, for instance, train in their own practice venues and are required to log their activities. Commissioner Willie Marcial has also previously said that league personnel will make surprise inspections to ensure that teams are following the rules.
Chooks 3x3 teams practice in two centralized venues, and they make use of an app developed by GET Philippines to more strictly observe their players' activities. Teams of the PFL, too, train in a centralized venue at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
Mitra said it was an honor for the professional leagues that their protocols will be emulated by non-professional sports.
"We are proud that everything seems fine in the pro level, and thank everyone for showcasing our best practices," he said. "This is like a commendation to the leagues who have spent time, effort, and resources to comply with the JAO."
Mitra stressed that the praise must go to the professional leagues, who have been strict in implementing their health and safety protocols. He noted that the leagues have done well in terms of self-regulating, with a PBA team in particular sanctioning a coach for breaking the rules.
"It's not GAB," said Mitra. "It's the leagues that are self-regulating themselves. Thank you, na nagiging example po ang mga professional leagues."
After Monday's presentation by the professional leagues, CHED and its technical working group are expected to buckle down to work on their own guidelines by this week. The protocols are expected to be released in two to three weeks' time.