Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra said he was “happy” with the quarantine protocols by the Philippine Football Federation at its PFF national training center in Carmona town, Cavite, after two GAB safety and health officers inspected the main training venue of the Philippines Football League clubs last weekend.
The federation, the sport’s national governing body, owns the training center and organizes the league, whose clubs were allowed to resume training under the Joint Administrative Order that the Department of Health, the Philippine Sports Commission, the GAB and the Inter-Agency Task Force issued jointly last July.
“Despite some minor oversights, we are happy that the league is coping with the established and agreed protocols and we are confident that they will be 100 per cent compliant. GAB was there to inspect and assist,” Mitra said. “Today (September 12), after a week we’ll be visiting again if they are now fully compliant.
“We are happy the league is conscious and diligent, aware of the health and safety protocols (for COVID-19). We always believe in self-regulation and know that they (the PFL) any untoward incidents to occur. Only minor adjustments needed.”
Assigned by Dioscoro Bautista, GAB pro-games division chief, GAB safety and health officers Noemi Lizardo and Ronnie Fortes submitted their report to Mitra on September 7 following their visit to the training center two days earlier.
Accompanied by PFL tournament commissioner Coco Torre, both said they witnessed the conduct of training by Kaya-Iloilo FC and Stallion-Laguna clubs at the venue, the first at 6 a.m. while the other at 8:30 a.m, with a 30-minute break separating their workouts.
Using a checklist, both GAB health and safety personnel noted that the venue was furnished with adequate “foot-pressed” alcohol dispensers, remote thermal scanners to check the temperature of training participants, and “health declarations using bar codes” through the Viber application.
They pointed out that the players lining up for thermal scans were “less than two meters from each other,” while “a group of five players confined their practice to respective assigned quadrants” at the open-air venue.
“There were ample designated health officers (professional health therapist),” and “physical distancing was strictly observed,” the report said.
They also observed that the Stallion-Laguna club’s water station was handled by one man and the venue “lacked signages directing to the washing areas and no isolation area was installed yet.”
Both GAB staff talked with Torre and Stallion-Laguna coach Ernie Nierras after the inspection, reminding them that the training center’s disinfection team must wear proper personal protective equipment, based on the GAB report submitted to Mitra.
The GAB also approved another training venue, with Kaya team manager Paul Tolentino confirming Saturday that the government body regulating professional sports has allowed the team to train at the Blue Pitch within the Ayala-owned Circuit mall in Makati. [Editor's note: A previous version of this article mentioned Gab Aquino as Kaya team manager. We regret the error.]
“We already practiced at the Blue Pitch last Thursday once we were given approval to train by the GAB,” Tolentino said.
This was allowed by the GAB after health and safety officers made a thorough inspection of the venue, added Tolentino, who had requested that his team train at the Blue Pitch, which once staged clinics for the football academy of Premier League club Chelsea, with the PFF.
PFF president Mariano Araneta Jr. said it was The Circuit management that submitted the blueprint for the health and safety protocols to the GAB for approval before any PFL team could work out on the field.
Araneta said other clubs, such as United City and newly formed Maharlika, were also thinking of using the Makati facility since it is located within Metro Manila.