By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Richard Bachmann said on Wednesday, Feb. 8, that he already reached out to EJ Obiena after the bemedalled pole vaulter made a lengthy post on his social media account about logistical and financial issues.
“In light of the recent statement of Mr. Ernest John Obiena posted on his social media account, I immediately communicated with him and made internal actions in the PSC,” Bachmann said.
Obiena took to social media his financial concern after making to podium in four tournaments, including two-gold medal finishes.
Obiena, who engaged former athletics chief Popoy Juico in a “word war” regarding financial concern, said his team has not been paid in over a year as payments are reportedly getting “caught up in red tape.”
“Despite all the issues of the past supposedly being resolved, my team has not been paid now in over a year. Payments are caught up in red tape. Unfortunately, some of my team are now threatening to leave Team Obiena. I cannot blame them,” Obiena said on his Instagram post.
Obiena also revealed that he decided to withdraw from the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships on February 10 to 12 in Kazakhstan due to logical issue.
“First, a pole vaulter without his poles is an ineffective pole vaulter. Despite huge efforts from everyone including my federation (PATAFA) and Mr. Capistrano, we are simply unable to get my poles to Astana, Kazakhstan. None of the airlines serving Astana will bring the poles. My mentor James Lafferty even worked with Pepsi Kazakhstan to drive the poles from Almaty to Astana. That didn’t work as it’s a 17H drive,” added Obiena.
Bachmann said he received communication on this matter from the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa).
“(The PSC) will continue to speed things up to help their national sports association and Mr. Obiena,” Bachmann said.
“We continue to give the best support we can to our elite athletes.”