POC, PSC must team up to solve Obiena-PATAFA row—Monsour del Rosario

Published March 18, 2022, 7:53 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Filipino taekwondo champion and former Makati 1st District Representative Monsour del Rosario on Friday appealed to the Philippine Olympics Committee (POC) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to team up and compel the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) to complete the mediation process as directed by the Senate Committee on Sports.

Del Rosario, who is running for the Senate in the upcoming May 2022 elections, also appealed for calm as he expressed belief that the recent suspension order by the POC on PATAFA, along with the statemetns made by POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino “are quite unjust and aggressive.”

“There is an ongoing mediation process and I believe all parties should participate and complete that process first privately before making any rash decisions and public pronouncements,” Del Rosario said.

“Issues concerning athletes always tend to be very emotional. Perhaps it’s because for years, we’ve witnessed the mistreatment of our great athletes, whether by public offices or private entities,” said the former Makati City councilor.

“But in the case of PATAFA and EJ Obiena and the ongoing mediation by the PSC, I say let’s sit back a little, control our emotions, and allow cooler heads to prevail,” he stressed.

“There are so many layers to this issue that the public needs to understand and we shouldn’t muddle that understanding with statements made out of emotional bias or, worse, a hero complex to side with the aggrieved athlete,” he further said.

Del Rosario made the call after the POC suspended PATAFA for failing to serve its purpose as an national sports association (NSA) when it elevated its complaint against Obiena before the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland.

As an athlete and sports leader, Del Rosario said he also empathizes with Obiena. “To see all your hopes and dreams fly away just because of one setback is truly heartbreaking,” he said.

“But I believe it’s not enough reason to bring the whole PATAFA down,” he pointed out.

“Instead of a suspension order that would risk affecting the futures of all other athletes under PATAFA’s care, the POC should join hands with the PSC to compel Obiena and PATAFA to participate and complete the mediation process in accordance with the directive of the Senate Committee on Sports,” the former lawmaker suggested.

Del Rosario further expressed hopes that the country’s sports leaders would be able to settle the issue once and for all for the interest of all Filipino athletes and the nation as a whole.

“It’s time we all act like true sportsmen and strive to resolve this matter peacefully instead of trying to go for each other’s necks,” he said.

“In the end, we should remember that the duty of sports leaders and sports organizations is to nurture and protect the interests of our athletes – not just one, but all athletes. And that in leading our local sports industry to greatness, we must serve as examples to the younger generation on how to handle conflicts with peace, grace, and dignity,” he emphasized.

Del Rosario, is running under the senatorial ticket of Partido Reporma standard bearer Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and vice presidential candidate Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

Prior to his stint in politics, he represented the Philippines in numerous international competitions including the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the Southeast Asian Games, the Asian Games, the World Games, the World Taekwondo Championships and the Asian Taekwondo Championships.

Del Rosario earned a gold medal in the 14th and 15th Southeast Asian Games, a bronze medal in the 10th Asian Games, and reached the quarterfinal round during the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, and later joined the Philippine Taekwondo Association as its secretary general and a Philippine Olympic National Sports Association Martial Arts Council member.