By Nick Giongco

The government’s call to postpone events that will involve massive public participation is being backed by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) in efforts to curb the spread of the deadly Wuhan coronavirus.

141119 SEA GAMES SEND OFF KASIBAN 1 640x427 - POC backs gov’t call to postpone sporting events due to coronavirus

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino (MB Photo / Alvin Kasiban)

“The POC stands behind (the) government in its precautionary measure of advising everyone to desist from organizing, participating or attending events where big crowd are expected,” POC president Bambol Tolentino said in a statement.

“The Philippine Sports Commission’s parallel declaration cancelling or suspending sports activities in order to mitigate the possible spread of the Novel Coronavirus in the country, is also shared by the POC,” said Tolentino.

“We must always put the safety of athletes, coaches, officials and spectators at the very top of our priorities. We therefore urge all National Sports Associations and other groups associated with the POC, to heed the call for prudence and await official announcements from appropriate agencies with regards this issue,” he added.

The last few days and weeks, numerous events not just locally but overseas as well, have been either scrapped or postponed with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) putting a temporary stop of their numerous activities.

Even the ASEAN Paralympic Games have been moved to a date yet to be announced while Gilas Pilipinas’ 2021 World Cup Qualifiers against Thailand on Feb. 20 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum have been postponed too.

“Due to the current coronavirus outbreak, FIBA Asia has taken the decision to postpone the following FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifier games,” FIBA said through its Asia Cup Twitter account.

FIBA also postponed China’s two road games against Japan on Feb. 21 and Malaysia on Feb. 24.

This Sunday’s Fans Day of the Philippine Superliga at the Robinson’s Place-Ermita has also didn’t escape being postponed.

“The number of those infected by the novel coronavirus is spiking while governments of affected countries are trying to contain its spread,” PSL president Philip Juico said.

“With this, it is only logical, and responsible, for us to cancel our Fans Day this Sunday to keep any untoward incident from happening. Although we want it to go on as planned, we have to put special premium on the safety and welfare of our athletes, coaches, officials, fans and other stakeholders.”

The PSL is not the only league that had to make some adjustments due to the outbreak of the deadly pulmonary disease.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association and University Athletic Association of the Philippines also took a break while the Philippine Basketball Association deferred the opening of its 45th season from March 1 to March 8.

“The world is adjusting just to curb the outbreak of this epidemic,” Juico said.

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