THE Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), headed by Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, urged both the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) and Tokyo Olympics pole vaulter EJ Obiena to work together and find a win-win solution to their long-running dispute.
In a statement released to the media, Ramirez said the PSC demanded that the PATAFA to “reconsider their declaration of dropping EJ from their rolls, provide him an appeal mechanism and not to execute their decision immediately” and Obiena to “immediately finish his liquidation of accounts so that we can support him.”
“PATAFA’s dropping of EJ from the athletics national team without any chance given for the athlete to appeal was a sad development. Due process requires proper disposition of issues and cases whether in government or private venues, including in administrative proceedings,”the PSC statement added.
For Obiena, this is a simple case of liquidation.
“EJ has given his partial liquidation report and the documents are now being examined and verified. This is a good step. Do not allow anyone to use those against you by getting it done. Finalize your liquidation and then you can focus on the other.”
The PSC also expressed its disappointment with the decision of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to declare Juico as a “persona non grata”, which only muddled the issue.
“When the POC declared their involvement, we hoped they would bridge the gap between EJ and PATAFA, both being under their authority,” the PSC added in the statement.
The rest of the PSC statement:
“With this situation, the PSC now took a second look and have started to craft policies on the requests of NSAs to fund and support someone into becoming an elite athlete at the international level. This issue has once again highlighted how NSAs do not give due consideration on the investment of the government and the people.
We will implement stricter guidelines on granting of financial assistances to NSAs and will require their submission of a disciplinary code or protocol in case anything like this happens in their sport.
We shall also be requiring them to include the policy on arbitration within their by-laws as mandated under RA 11232. Failure to comply with these two policies by the end of the month shall constrain the PSC Board to review and reconsider granting of assistances to all. non-complying NSAs.
Another matter which this issue forced us to look into is how the law limits us on situations like this and how much we need to amend it to keep it relevant and strong for our time. We understand public outcry demanding us to take certain actions, even from parties who know the legal dynamics in sports.
However, we would like to remind that the PSC is primarily a funding agency, the government’s arm to give its logistical support to the national team in the realm of elite sports. The training, disciplinary efforts and choosing of national team rosters all fall under the baton of the NSAs and their personality in international competitions under the POC. These are the roles that we take in sports.
We are sportsmen, proudly calling the Philippines our motherland. Instead of throwing accusations against each other, can we not talk as sportsmen trained and exposed to the core values of Olympism — excellence, friendship, and respect.
On behalf of the PSC board, we lay down the following:
1. We demand for EJ to immediately finish his liquidation of accounts so that we can continue to support him.
2. We demand for PATAFA to reconsider their declaration of dropping EJ from their rolls, provide him an appeal mechanism and not to execute their decision immediately.
3. We demand for the POC to bridge the two parties as the mother organization of both and reconsider their decision of declaring Mr. Juico persona non-grata on the premise of promoting peace in elite sports.
4. We demand for the PATAFA, EJ, the POC and all the parties who wish to stoke the fire of this mad issue to stop. You have all publicly recognized the PSC and asked us to help resolve the issue, please listen to us on this simple request. Stop issuing public statements and come to the table with us to discuss this matter.
We have said this before and we are saying this again. Let us resolve this like sportsmen.
The issue has dragged on and have pulled the nation’s name to the mire of negativity in the international sports scene.
We all pledge our love for country, we trust that you will heed our call immediately, for love of flag. Para sa Inang B ayan!
We are here, we have offered our neutral table to seek a peaceful resolution to this from the very beginning. It is one thing to declare your stand publicly and one thing to follow it through with action. If we really all desire to see this to resolution, please listen to us.
Within the day, the PSC is set to talk separately with the above parties. We hope that we can all arrive at a resolution soon.
The PSC board is set to report all related information to the Office of the President this afternoon.
We remain committed to the Filipino athlete.
Allow us to lift this from the International Olympic Committee’s website: “Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles. The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”
That is a paragraph brimming with life lessons which sport ingrains among its children. These are the very ideals we all claim to adhere to, but sadly fail to show at this challenging time. Let us come together and find a way to solve this. If not for our own interests, let us do it for flag and country.”