PSC chief Butch Ramirez calls for unity amid POC feud
Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Butch Ramirez has stepped into the crossfire between the warring parties in the Philippine Olympic Committee executive board, urging both hotheads to smoke the peace pipe for the sake of the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games and show that sports leaders are role models to the youth.
“As the Chairman of the PSC, I call upon all our sports leaders to step back and take a moment to consider peaceful interactions,’’ said Ramirez a day after the tumultuous POC general assembly that has left the Olympic body in total disarray.
POC president Ricky Vargas said he got fed up with the “destabilization’’ plot against his administration and threw brickbats in a privilege speech on Monday against his detractors, majority of which came from his own executive board.
On the other side of the fence, POC 1st vice president Joey Romasanta denied such claims, saying all they wanted was to be enlightened on the dealings of Vargas with the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc).
“I still believe we can all sit down and civilly thresh out what needs to be straightened out. The PSC is open to host a dialogue between parties and provide neutral ground for everyone to air their side and ultimately to either sacrifice or step up in the interest of a unified sporting community,’’ said Ramirez.
“The PSC Board will be diligently observing and will not be shy to take drastic measures, in the midst of these developments,’’ added Ramirez.
As a result of their rift, Vargas announced before the GA on Monday that the POC will hold an election of all elective positions in January 2020 or a month after the SEA Games on Nov. 30-Dec. 11 to be held in Clark, Subic, Metro Manila and Tagaytay City.
Romasanta, however, insisted that the polls should be held immediately.
“We are hosting what we are working very hard on to be the biggest SEA Games edition. We are also making every possible effort to make 2020 a memorable year with our goal to win the country’s first Olympic gold medal,’’ said Ramirez.
“At the same time, we are running on the fuel of our dreams to finally have the infrastructure and facilities that will show the leveled-up fervor of our country in strengthening the foothold in sports. We have our plates full and it is at this time, more than ever, that we need everyone to move in the same direction,’’ added Ramirez.
Vargas likewise removed Robert Bachmann of squash as chair of the POC membership committee and recalled the appointments of SEA Games chef de mission Monsour Del Rosario, deputy CDM Charlie Ho and Romasanta as CDM of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I believe that unity is vital in any endeavor. More so in this deal, that we all undertake in our own capacities to push Philippine sports to its highest possibilities,’’ said Ramirez. “As sports leaders and adults, it is our duty to show our youth that national interest always places ahead of our personal interests.’’
POC chairman Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino offered Ramirez the CDM for this year’s SEAG, but the PSC chief courteously declined.
“After some moment of introspection, and to finally put to rest all speculations, I now issue this statement to humbly and officially decline the offer. Thank you very much for considering this humble servant,’’ said Ramirez, the CDM during the 2005 Manila SEA Games when the Philippines captured its first-ever overall title.
“I am a public servant. I am bound by duty to deliver what is demanded of me by the law. Whether or not I am the CDM in the SEA Games, I and the PSC will surely provide our full and sincere support to Team Philippines,’’ he added.