PSL, MPBL bubbles get green light through DOH memo

Thanks to a new memo from DOH, the MPBL, along with the PSL, can finally resume. MPBL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--In an interesting plot twist, the PSL and the MPBL got the clearance to push through with their respective bubbles in Olongapo.

[Related Story: PSL, MPBL bubble set to finally take place as IATF allows non-pro leagues to resume]

The question: How come both leagues, which have remained "amateur" until now, have been given the go signal to play on despite the Games and Amusements Board's insistence that only bonafide professional sports events can push through amid the COVID-19 pandemic?

As it turned out, the Department of Health set up some conditions.

A memorandum circular dated Feb. 18 bared the guidelines placed in conducting sports bubbles among leagues not sanctioned by GAB and the Philippine Sports Commission.

The ruling states that the said leagues can only push through provided that they "shall have a national government agency sponsoring the conduct of the activity."

In this case, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority will oversee both leagues' bubbles.

The memo also says that the leagues must assure that "the LGU (local government unit) where the sports bubble is conducted or the sponsoring NGA shall take full accountability in monitoring and oversight of the sports bubble and the management of possible COVID-19 outbreak following the sports bubble/event."

The circular also states that the amateur sports bubbles must first be approved by the regional inter-agency task force and, like the pro league bubbles, be "compliant with the minimum public health standards set forth by this order and all other applicable government rules and regulations."

Among the minimum health standards placed are the minimum number of days for bubble training, which is 14, the transportation route is strictly from the hotel to the playing venue and vice versa, the formation of a "bubble central oversight committee", the limit of the bubble participants regardless of their designation, which is 100, the requirement that everyone in the bubble must stay there for 14 days, and that no one from the general public would be allowed entry to watch the games live.

"Violation on the provisions of this order shall be ground for the termination of the sports bubble and penalties as applicable," the DOH memo concluded.

The memo also noted, "Those governed by PSC and GAB shall continue to follow PSC-GAB-DOH Joint Administrative Order No. 2020-0001."

The PSL opens its 2021 season with the Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup this weekend, while the MPBL concludes its long postponed season with the knockout semifinals on March 5 and the national finals afterward.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno