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PBA PARTY LIST CALLS FOR NEW PATAFA OFFICIALS

The Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list on Thursday called for a vote of no-confidence of the entire Philippine Athletics and Track and Field Association (PATAFA) board in wake of the association’s suspension by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).

“It’s quite obvious that the officials of the PATAFA are no longer working to serve the best interest of their athletes. That they refused to sign off on EJ Obiena’s participation in the World Indoor Athletics Championship is proof enough,” PBA Party-list spokesperson Atty. Migs Nograles said.

“Our athletes’ interest should always come first, most especially if they’re excelling in their field.”

“We need a new set of officers who will not politicize their positions and instead work to further the welfare of the athletes,” Nograles stressed.

The POC Executive Board suspended the PATAFA for 90 days for failing to serve their purpose as an NSA, which supposedly “has the dedication and commitment toward the development of the sport, promoting the ideals of the Olympic Movement and the spirit of sportsmanship.”

Obiena earlier decried his not being able to compete at the World Indoor Championships, despite gaining qualification. The Tokyo Olympian has been locked in a word war with the PATAFA for months over allegations of funding misuse.

The national sports association (NSA) had denied his request for endorsement to the World Indoors in Belgrade, as well as the Vietnam SEA Games, World Championships in Oregon in July, and the Asian Games in Hangzhou in September.

Nograles said greater and stricter oversight from the POC and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) was needed to ensure what happened to Obiena would not be done to other athletes by the other NSAs.

“Our athletes’ interest should always come first, most especially if they’re excelling in their field,” the Davaoeña lawyer said.

“No athlete should have to go through the heartbreak and betrayal that EJ did,” she added.

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