January 29, 2023

With the prolonged quarantine in the Cordillera, referees from Baguio and Benguet are seeking for assistance in any means from the city government to help them get through the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

The Baguio-Benguet Basketball Referees Group, in a letter to the city council, said its members have been out of work since the start of the Luzon-wide quarantine and that their savings have been stretched and reached its limit.

“May we seek for any assistance that could help us, especially for our full-time referees who rely only on officials’ fee from basketball games. But due to the pandemic, all events have been cancelled,” the group, led by its coordinator Bartolome Empleo Jr., said.

Empleo said basketball referees are paid only when there is a game or are in a “no work, no game, no pay” status.

“We do appreciate for any help from your end especially at these trying times,” the letter stated.

The group is composed of 75 members that officiate games in Baguio and Benguet. They see action in the Baguio-Benguet Educational Athletic League games and other institutional or private-led games.

The letter was coursed through the office of Councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales, chair of the city council committee on youth and sports.

Orcales said they will consider the request as it is also discussing the inclusion of the sports sector for a relief package to ease their needs during the pandemic.   

“Although I forgot to mention them (referees) they are included in my manifestation here at the city council. Yes, we will consider this. The mayor and the vice mayor had already instructed me to assist in the drafting and submission of a plan for our sports in the city, especially for those who will lose income due to cancellation of all sports events,” he said.

Earlier, the city government already gave relief packages to other affected sectors in the city. – Ofelia C. Empian