THE Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has promised to fast-track the renovation and refurbishment of the various dorms housing members of the national teams in the wake of the death of wushu junior athlete Rastafari Daraliay.
PSC chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez said the remodeling of the dorms has been overdue, blaming the procurement process for the delay.
“It becomes a compelling position of the PSC, not just to react, but to immediately rehabilitate all of these facilities," he said at the end of an emergency Management Committee meeting on Monday morning to discuss the matter following the death of Daraliay, 11, early Saturday.
"The more that it becomes a more compelling reason for the PSC to demand the money that we're supposed to have for funding these facilities,” Ramirez added during a hastily-called press conference at the PSC conference room.
As per a report filed by both the PSC and WFP, Daraliay, fell off the top bunk of a double-deck bed at around 3 a.m. Saturday. He went back to sleep after telling his teammates that he is OK, but never woke up again.
He was still brought to the hospital where he later expired.
“We will answer the call of the athletes,” he added. “Lalong lumakas ang loob namin na bilisan namin ito. Naka-schedule talaga 'yan, naunahan lang tayo ng events."
Ramirez was joined in the media briefing by Wushu Federation of the Philippines (WFP) secretary-general Julian Camacho and PSC acting executive director Atty. Guillermo Iroy.
An autopsy had already been conducted on Daraliay's body and the results will be available by Wednesday. The PSC chairman described the death of Daraliay, who won a gold medal in the recent Batang Pinoy Nationals Finals, as an ‘accident.’
Daraliay has a sister, Zion, who’s also a wushu athlete, and already competed in two international tournaments as part of the national junior team.
“WFP will extend to its family whatever assistance they needed including hospital payment and funeral expenses,” said Camacho in a statement.
Iroy said he Ramirez and National Training Director Marc Velasco, along with PSC operations chief Manny Bitog went to the wake of Daraliay on Sunday night and condoled with his parents, Bobbit and Hazel.
Ramirez assured the family of the proper investigation and the agency’s full support.
Prior to the press briefing, Ramirez and his team visited and inspected the wushu team’s dorm at the fifth floor of the Philippine Center for Sports Medicine Bldg. inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, especially dorm No. 8 where Daraliay had been staying for a while.
Camacho said the parents of the athlete were the ones who requested that Rastafari stay in the dorm at least thrice a week rather than commuting back and forth from their home in Tandang Sora all the way to the Rizal Memorial Complex.
Ramirez hopes renovation on the athletes’ quarters will start by December, when most of the athletes would be away on a holiday vacation.
The PSC chairman has also proposed adopting Hongkong-style dorms for athletes.
“What we can do is to have two beds (per dorm), walang double-deck. Wala namang atleta na isa lang (sa room),” said Ramirez, who noted that double-deck beds are likewise common in countries like Australia and Hong Kong.
“But lesson learned, sigurista na lang tayo doon na lang tayo sa walang double-deck.”
The remains of Daraliay, a bemedalled junior Taolu artist who is a product of the PSC Batang Pinoy program, lie in state at the Santuario de San Vicente in Tandang Sora, and will be cremated on Thursday.