PSC sending 'mediation agreement' to PATAFA, EJ Obiena

PSC chairman Butch Ramirez is stepping in as the mediator to EJ Obiena and PATAFA. Aleksandra Szmigiel/Reuters (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The Philippine Sports Commission has started becoming more proactive in resolving the misunderstanding between the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association and EJ Obiena.

PSC chairman Butch Ramirez has sent a "mediation submission agreement" to both sides as he now looks to become the bridge that might reconcile them.

The agreement, aside from formalizing Ramirez as the mediator, also consists of the rules to be followed and where the meeting between Obiena and PATAFA officials would take place.

“The role of the mediator is merely to facilitate communication, identify issues and help the parties arrive at a settlement,” Ramirez said on Thursday.

He clarified, however, that he will be as impartial as possible as they seek an agreement that would put the impasse to an end.

“My role as a mediator is not to decide who is right or wrong. We are after a win-win solution for both sides. The goal is to preserve relationships of the disputing parties,” Ramirez further said.

After hearing both sides, the PSC board would convene to map out the next action step in resolving the row.

However, arbitration has been put in place as well if both PATAFA and Obiena fail to settle their differences 30 days after the mediation began.

Ramirez hopes that the impasse ends sooner as he is now worried at both Obiena and PATAFA president Popoy Juico.

“I am worried about them both. EJ is carrying this burden all alone overseas, away from family and friends. I am concerned about Mr. Juico’s health. The earlier we can sit down and talk, the earlier we can resolve this,” Ramirez concluded.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno