BAGUIO CITY - With the conflict between the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) raging, the government sports agency can only hope Filipino athletes won't lose their focus in the buildup the coming Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
PSC commissioner Charles Maxey stressed he understands the plight of athletes, who are often caught in the crossfire in disputes between the country's two leading sports bodies.
"We know how athletes feel when there is conflict among sports leaders," said Maxey upon arriving in the country's summer capital for the fifth leg of the ongoing PSC sports caravan.
"And it's difficult for them (athletes) because they are the ones who are caught in the middle."
POC president Jose 'Peping' Cojuango earlier censured the PSC for trying to get involved in the training of the athletes, insisting its function is mainly to fund the programs of the various national sports associations (NSAs).
But PSC chairman William 'Butch' Ramirez stressed that since government funds are involved, his office has the right to know where the money is going.
Ramirez added the POC should provide funds to the NSAs if Cojuangco doesn't want the PSC to be involved in the athletes' training.
On top of this, Cojuangco has also clashed with PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez who is set to file a libel case against the longtime POC chief over accusations that he fixed matches during his basketball career.
While he supports the stand of the PSC, Maxey said he hopes the Filipino athletes' SEA Games preparation won't be compromised by the feud.
At the same time, he expressed the agency's continued support to the athletes.
"We assure them the PSC will continue its support to them as they prepare for the SEA Games," he said.
The Philippines finished sixth overall during the Singapore edition of the SEA Games two years ago, bagging 29 golds, 66 silvers, and 36 bronzes.
Ramirez is expected to join Maxey in the Baguio leg of the caravan along with fellow commissioner Arnold Agustin, Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) national training director Mark Velasco, and sports caravan project director Ronnel Abrenica.
The caravan had previous stops in the provinces of Cebu, Davao, Naga, and in the CALABARZON and MIMAROPA areas.