|PSC chief Butch Ramirez called for unity between them, PATAFA, EJ Obiena, and POC. PSC (file photo)|
MANILA--Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez has called on the Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association, and world no. 6 pole vaulter EJ Obiena to settle their differences and rebuild the alliance that made Obiena Asia's pole vaulting king.
Speaking for the first time since Obiena announced that he is backing out of a mediation process to resolve his feud with PATAFA, Ramirez on Thursday pleaded for unity among them and the POC.
"Sana marinig ako nina EJ, [PATAFA president] Popoy [Juico], at saka ng POC. Magkaisa tayo," Ramirez said in the PSC's People Sports Conversations podcast.
He maintained that mediation is the best way to reconcile both Obiena and PATAFA. Thus, he was disappointed that Obiena pulled his name out of the mediation process, which led to its postponement.
"I'm very disappointed. As a matter of fact, mediation is something we stand for because it is the best option to seek resolution from the matter. However, there should be a voluntary willingness from both parties, something that is not possible at the moment," added Ramirez, who volunteered to be the peacemaker.
He also admitted that his concerns over the row have also affected how he is monitoring the other national athletes like the women's football team's stint in the AFC Women's Asian Cup in Mumbai and Asa Miller's upcoming bid in the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
"We are bothered by this internal problem of PATAFA and EJ Obiena," Ramirez said.
But he reminded that his office remains open should Obiena finally agree to settle the score with PATAFA in the mediation.
"The PSC is open to [resuming mediation]. It is the best option that we have. Contrary to what has been wrongly claimed that mediation does not silence the truth, it is aimed at operating the truth since it offers a safe neutral ground for discussion for both parties to clarify issues without the noise of the outside world," Ramirez said. "It is an opportunity for both parties to lay down their cards and where we can seek ways to address issues without judgment and a place where facts will speak, so we are sad because the elite athletes are under the principles of Olympism that speak about friendship, respect, excellence, and forgiveness and this is happening in our Philippine sports."
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