But with the global situation still unstable, Barredo said the priority for the moment is “to safeguard yourself, your families and everyone’s health.” In an open letter to the Paralympic family the other day, Barredo said “while we are uncertain what the future holds, what is certain is that with our unstoppable spirit, we will face this challenge and together, we will meet it head-on and never give up.”
Para Games to celebrate turnaround?
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - March 27, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo said yesterday if the coronavirus crisis is put under control within the next two months, the 10th ASEAN Para Games could show the way to celebrate the turnaround in a display of human triumph over the pandemic.

But with the global situation still unstable, Barredo said the priority for the moment is “to safeguard yourself, your families and everyone’s health.” In an open letter to the Paralympic family the other day, Barredo said “while we are uncertain what the future holds, what is certain is that with our unstoppable spirit, we will face this challenge and together, we will meet it head-on and never give up.”

Coming from the differently abled sector himself, Barredo said he shares in the para athletes’ “unstoppable spirit.” “When we were told that we could not do things able-bodied people could do, we persisted,” he said. “When we were rejected because we were told it was impossible for para athletes to compete, we proved them wrong. When we were told to give up following our dreams of equality, we turned our dreams into reality. The coronavirus has affected everyone physically with lockdowns and quarantine but it cannot dampen our unstoppable spirit.”

Barredo confirmed that the ASEAN Para Sports Federation (APSF) will convene in July, perhaps through a video conference, to decide whether or not to push through with the thrice-postponed ASEAN Para Games in the country on Oct. 3-9. He said if the ASEAN Para Games are delayed further to 2021, it will mean staging the event in the same year as the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics and the next Southeast Asian Games. The 11th ASEAN Para Games will follow the next SEA Games to be held on Nov. 21-Dec. 2, 2021, in Vietnam.

“We’ll need to rethink our sports calendar and adjust,” said Barredo. “The Tokyo Olympics will be held next year but not later than summer. If we do the ASEAN Para Games in October, it could be a run-up to the Paralympics. We’re prepared to host the ASEAN Para Games. Last year, the PSC released P100 million for equipment, logistic provisions and organization then the government allocated a budget of P450 million to host the ASEAN Para Games. With the coronavirus crisis, it’s possible the government will realign the budget for more health care. If that happens, we may not be able to host. Thailand has offered to take over as host but we’re all in this crisis together. If we’re able to host, I think it would be a wonderful celebration of humanity, particularly as the differently abled sector will lead it.”

Barredo said in the current lockdown, government should also be sensitive to the needs of the impaired sector. “We’re not able to go outdoors to get medicine or supplies by ourselves,” he said. “Many of us don’t live in our own homes. Many of us have caregivers. Our concern isn’t only our para athletes but everyone in our sector. I’m calling on our government officials, LGUs and the private sector to provide support and access to basic needs of all persons with disabilities, a very vulnerable sector of society.”

PHILIPPINE PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
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