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House probe sought on national sports policies following Obiena-PATAFA row

A RESOLUTION was filed in the House of Representatives seeking a probe into policies and the dynamics between national athletes and sports institutions in light of the ongoing row between an Olympian pole-vaulter and the Philippine Athletic Track and Field Association (PATAFA).

Manila Rep. Rolando V. Valeriano filed a yet to be numbered House Resolution asking the Committee on Youth and Sports Development to investigate the funding-related conflict between Tokyo Olympian pole-vaulter Ernest John “EJ” U. Obiena and PATAFA.

“Our national athletes have long complained of Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) accredited NSAs (national sport associations) engaging in endless politicking, not having sustainable development programs, being heavily dependent on government funding, and… lacking communications with and support for athletes, among other issues,” according to a copy of the resolution.

Mr. Valeriano said there could be a need to review rules and relationships of the athletes with the POC, NSAs, and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

PATAFA has accused Mr. Obiena of falsifying liquidation documents on payments to his Ukrainian coach, Vitaly A. Petrov, and ordered the athlete to return EUR85,000 or about P4.8 million to the association.

Mr. Obiena and Mr. Petrov have both denied the accusations.

Mr. Valeriano said the incident showed the PATAFA’s “failure (to) promote his welfare, or worse, even a sabotage of the career of a distinguished national athlete.”

The PSC said it will mediate and call for a dialogue between the two parties, and urged them to refrain from making public statements.

PSC’s statement came after the Senate recalled the proposed budget of the agency for next year due to their “hands-off” stance on the matter.

The POC has also ordered its ethics committee to investigate the incident. Russell Louis C. Ku

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