Safety is priority– PSC Chair
For Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chair William Ramirez, the safety of every athlete is a paramount concern far more significant than achieving victory in any sport.
Speaking his mind on the alleged training camp of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers in Sorsogon province, Ramirez pointed out the importance of protecting the well-being of athletes over winning championships and medals.
“We made every effort to send home every one of our more than 1,600 national athletes. Their safety weighs more than any color of honor that continued training might produce,” Ramirez said.
“I believe this sets the tone for other teams to follow. Safety is priority. The lives of our athletes are more important that any medal could ever equal,” the PSC chief added.
Aldin Ayo, UST men’s basketball varsity head coach, and his Tigers allegedly set up camp in Sorsogon, a clear breach of quarantine protocols that prompted the PSC and eventually the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to step in.
“Does winning always mean everything else takes second place? Are we so focused on winning that we are ready to compromise important matters like the safety of the youth we are supposed to guide?” Ramirez said.
He pointed out that besides Ayo, team management could be held responsible as the school opens its own probe on the allegations.
“We have received varying reports, but we await the result of investigations regarding this. The PSC recognizes the authority of the UAAP on this member team (UST), and we are giving them the chance to clarify matters internally,” Ramirez said.
The secret training camp of the Tigers in Ayo’s hometown in Sorsogon was exposed when the coach had a falling out with CJ Cansino, who bared the details of the training bubble before jumping ship to the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons.
Ramirez said the PSC, being the government arm in sports, and part of the tripartite group with the Games and Amusements Board and the Department of Health, is tasked to oversee physical activities in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and bound to uphold whatever government dictates.
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