PHILIPPINE Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez declined his appointment as chef de mission of Team Philippines in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, while calling all sports leaders for unity following the controversy within the ranks of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
In a statement, Ramirez said he was offered by POC chairman Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino the post after POC president Ricky Vargas relieved Monsour Del Rosario of the post.
“Yesterday, I got a call from Cong. Bambol Tolentino, who on behalf of the Philippine Olympic Committee as its Chairman, very kindly offered me the Chef de Mission tasks for Team Philippines' 2019 Southeast Asian Games participation.
“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.
Ramirez also made a call to Philippine sports officials for unity after a controversial general assembly meeting in which Vargas removed committee heads in key positions such as former POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, first vice president Joey Romasanta, and Robert Bachmann.
“Today, we wake up to a Philippine sports world in shambles. After the tumultuous event in the yard of our POC partners, we all find ourselves at a crossroads in our journey. I believe that unity is vital in any endeavor. More so in this ideal, that we all undertake in our own capacities - to push Philippine sports to its highest possibilities,” said Ramirez.
“In our work in the grassroots partnerships, one of our major mandates, our stakeholders in the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Interior and Local Government, showed us how they all long for unity and peace, in sports and our country. As sports leaders and adults, it is our duty to show our youth that national interest always places ahead of our personal interests,” said Ramirez.
Ramirez said he will continue to help the country’s hosting and campaign in the 2019 SEA Games even without the chef de mission post.
“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 CDM in SEA Games 2019, I and the PSC will surely provide our full and sincere support to Team Philippines,” he added.
Ramirez also said the PSC is open to host a dialogue between the two warring factions within the POC.
“As the Chairman of the PSC, I call upon all our sports leaders to step back and take a moment to consider peaceful interactions. I still believe that 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.
“We are hosting what we our working very hard on to be the biggest SEAG edition, we are making every possible effort to make 2020 a memorable year with the country's first Olympic gold and we are running on the fuel of our dreams to finally have infrastructure and facilities that will show the levelled-up fervor of our country in strengthening the foothold of sports. We have our plates full and it is at this time, more than ever, that we need everyone moving in the same direction.”
“The PSC Board will be diligently observing and will not be shy to take drastic measures, in the midst of these developments,” Ramirez said.