COMMISSION on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Prospero de Vera III on Thursday declared that University of Santo Tomas (UST) broke health protocols by simply allowing its men’s basketball team, the Growling Tigers, to hold a training “bubble” in Sorsogon City.
“Yes, I think clearly holding a student activity in a faraway place…clearly there’s seem to be a violation of IATF rules,” de Vera said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases already relaxed return-to-training protocols in sports but still disapproves team training, more so traveling in a big group anywhere in the country.
De Vera also said UST didn’t deny knowledge of the “Sorsogon bubble,” giving away the meat of UST’s report from its internal investigation of the controversy that the school refuses to bare to the public.
The CHED chief beat to the draw Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham Mitra and even University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Executive Director Atty. Rebo Saguisag and Season 83 President Emmanuel Calanog of De La Salle in making a declaration on the UST “bubble.”
The GAB, UAAP, Department of Health and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) compose the body investigating the alleged “bubble” that also involved National University. The PSC, however, did not receive a copy of the report which were submitted to the body on Tuesday by UST’s lawyers.
“They [UST] admitted that [something] happened and UST didn’t even deny that there was a bubble—even [the] coach didn’t deny that there was a bubble,” said de Vera, but didn’t divulge if the coach he was referring to was Aldin Ayo.
Tigers Head Coach Ayo is in the epicenter of the controversy because the alleged “bubble” was staged in his native Sorsogon City.
“The posts of the students attest that there’s a bubble,” added de Vera, referring to the revelations made by former UST star CJ Cansino in social media.
Despite making an earnest conclusion, de Vera said he has yet to determine the sanctions that could be imposed on UST.
“We are in the stage of verifying who are responsible for the violation based on the report submitted by the university’s legal team,” he said.
But de Vera cleared the student athletes of any wrongdoing.
“ The student athletes or the players who joined UST Head Coach Aldin Ayo in Sorsogon will not be accountable or liable to the IATF,” he said, hinting the athletes, who are under 21 years old, could have been forced to join the bubble.
The IATF prohibits individuals aged 20 below and 60 above from going out of their homes.