A resolution is close at hand in the ongoing mediation talks involving top Filipino pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez said this following the latest round of virtual talks that the government sports agency mediated between both parties on Monday evening.
“We are almost there,” said Ramirez after he signed a memorandum of agreement with officials of the newly-formed BangsaMoro Sports Commission on the technical assistance and advise that the government sports agency will provide them.
Ramirez said Obiena and the PATAFA, which is headed by its president Philip Ella Juico, have managed to resolve of three of five issues that they have discussed.
The PSC chair is hopeful that all their disagreements will have a final resolution by Friday and that Obiena will be able to see action in the Southeast Asian Games and other international meets that have been lined up for him this year.
“We are positive that by April 1, we will be successful. I am praying and hoping that the PATAFA leadership will let some competitions be allowed to EJ,” added Ramirez.
Mediation talks have dragged on between Obiena and the PATAFA, which initially questioned the athlete over the alleged unliquidated financial assistance given to him as a payment for the salary of his coach Vitaliy Petrov.
The Philippine Olympic Committee executive board recently voted to suspend the PATAFA for 90 days for allegedly failing to serve its purpose as an NSA and the treatment of its top athlete in Obiena.
This will take effect once ratified by the POC General Assembly during its regular meeting on March 30 (Wednesday).
With its mediation with Obiena still unsettled, PATAFA does not have Asia’s best pole vaulter in its national roster for the SEA Games in Vietnam this May, but the POC has included him in the list that they gave to games’ organizers.
Meanwhile, BangsaMoro Sports Commission chairman Nu-Man Caludtiag said they are still in discussion with the PSC on which sports they will focus on in their coming activities.
Also named commissioners of the BSC are Arsalan Diamaoden (Lanao del Sur), Abdulkhari Musa (Tawi-Tawi), Yushoup Sario (Basilan) and Adzhar Tingkahan (Sulu).