Panlilio named COVID-19 vaccine czar for SEAG-bound athletes
Philippine Olympic Committee first vice president Al Panlilio

Panlilio named COVID-19 vaccine czar for SEAG-bound athletes

Joey Villar (Philstar.com) - April 7, 2021 - 2:55pm

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino on Wednesday tasked his first vice-president Al Panlilio to head the group in charge of the vaccination of all the national team seeing action in the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games late this year.

“It would be up to the task force what brand and when to start the procurement process,” said Tolentino. “Whichever is the first available vaccine that will be allowed for procurement, we will get. We cannot choose.”

It came after the POC recently received a grant worth $40,000, or roughly P2 million, from the Olympic Council of Asia for the exclusive use of procuring vaccines for Olympic and SEA Games-bound Filipino athletes.

Also recently, Malacanang allowed private companies to secure vaccines for their workforce.

“This is good news for Filipino athletes who will be competing in the Hanoi SEA Games,” said the Tagaytay Congressman and cycling chief. “Once they get inoculated, they can train with very little fear of getting infected.”

Tolentino hopes the money could cover a total of 626 national athletes listed to see action in the 39 to 40 sports calendared in Hanoi set November 21 to December 2.

Ports tycoon Enrique Razon — who owns International Container Terminal Services Inc. — earlier pledged to acquire Moderna vaccines for the country’s representatives to the Tokyo Olympics.

Razon’s vaccines are expected in late May or early June.

Only men’s middleweight boxer Eumir Felix Marcial was inoculated with the vaccine in Los Angeles, California, where he has been training since October last year at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym.

The other Olympic qualifiers — boxers Carlo Paalam, Nesthy Petecioa and Irish Magno, gymnast Carlos Yulo and pole vaulter EJ Obiena — have yet to be vaccinated.

PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, who Tolentino named as chef de mission to the Vietnam SEA Games, welcomed the development.

“This is really very good news for Philippine sports,” he said.

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