PSC to look after athletes' welfare amid POC's leadership row

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2019 05:21 PM

Philippine Sports Commission chairman William "Butch" Ramirez addresses the local athletes during their general assembly at Philsports Complex. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez assured the government will take care of the athletes' needs as they prepare for the country's hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

This despite the lingering leadership issues hounding the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), which will be staging another poll this coming July 28.

Ramirez admitted that President Duterte was concerned with the developments concerning the POC, but they could not step in since the Olympic Committee is a private entity.

"He's bothered by the situation, but I told him that the matters of the Olympic Committee is internal especially as the IOC (International Olympic Committee) intervened," said Ramirez during their general assembly with the national athletes on Friday.

"Our focus is really the athletes."

Athletes from various national sports associations attend their general assembly at Philsports Complex. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Also present during the gathering is executive secretary Salvador Medialdea, who guaranteed the President's support. 

"Ilayo nating lahat ang mga problema sa ating mga gagawin. Sa November, dito lang tayo. We will continue to support Filipino sports. Iyan po ang mensahe ng ating Presidente," he said.

Ramirez, who also acts as the Philippine chef de mission (CDM) for the 30th SEA Games, remains positive that the local athletes will still be able to deliver as long as they get the budgetary support they need for their training.

"What I told [the President] is that in the midst of the problem of the local Olympic Committee, the athletes might deliver a very successful performance kasi tinututukan namin ang mga concern," he said.

"So extraordinary ang focus namin sa atleta tsaka sa mga pangangailangan ng mga NSA (national sports association). If there are problems with the procurement, ginagawan namin ng paraan."

PSC chairman Butch Ramirez and executive secretary Salvador Medialdea attend the gathering of athletes at Philsports Complex. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Meanwhile, Ramirez said other pressing matters they will have to look into include the technical handbook for the Games, the official selection of national athletes, and the scouting of their SEA counterparts.

"I have two deputies, CDMs from the NSAs, and I'm also tapping the presence of my commissioners to help me in the CDM concerns," said Ramirez.

He added that he is willing to act as a mediator between the warring factions in the POC to help settle their issues amicably.

"I know it's sad what's going on... I would gladly sit down with them and work a compromise, encourage power sharing," said Ramirez. 

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)