THERE was no negligence in the handling of the Baguio City athletes who joined the Batang Pinoy national finals held in Tagum City Davao Del Norte from November 27 to December 3 last year.

This was the conclusion reached by the probe committee created by Mayor Mauricio Domogan last December to look into the complaint of a parent alleging there was negligence and mishandling of the athletes particularly in the facilitation of the means of transportation of the athletes from Nasipit Jeepney Terminal going to Butuan City and from Butuan City to Tagum City.

“Based on the findings, the committee sees no gross negligence on the part of the Baguio sports coordinators,” the committee noted in a report to the mayor dated Feb. 13.

The body composed of city administrator Carlos Canilao, Office of the Assistant Schools Division Superintendent officer-in-charge Augustin Laban III and officer-in-charge city legal officer Melchor Carlos Rabanes said they conducted separate fact-finding sessions with the parties involved -- the city sports coordinators headed by sports development officer III Gaudencio Gonzales, complainant Tomlinson Baniwas and two of the coaches.

As per information gathered, they concluded the sports personnel “did the best they could” for the 152 athletes who opted for seacraft passage to reach their destination.

“Parents are not official members of the delegation; hence, they were not involved during orientations,” the committee said.

Baniwas, in a published complaint, took to task the sports coordinators for the botched transit arrangement from Nasipit to Tagum City that triggered confusion and inconvenience among the athletes and caused some of them to miss their competition schedules.

But the committee found out proper coordination was made but the arrival of tropical depression “Marce” forced a change in the schedule of their departure from the city and therefore necessitated renegotiating for new transit arrangement which failed as the buses were already fully booked.

This prompted them to resort to other modes of transportation and in all these plans and moves, the coaches who were the designated caretakers of their wards were duly advised.

The coaches were also informed beforehand on the possibility of missing their games and were instructed to coordinate with their sports associations for possible adjustment of their game schedules.

In the report, the committee recommended measures to prevent a similar incident from happening again foremost the early processing and payment of transportation whether by air or by sea and the sending of an advance party to assess the actual situation of the ports or terminals in the itinerary and the coordination and arrangement with transportation companies with clear terms in the event of a postponement or rescheduling of the trip.

“As a matter of policy, parents should not join the delegation; exceptionally there should be conditions in the event they are allowed (like) they should be included during pre-departure orientations and be properly briefed and be required to sign a waiver,” the committee recommended.

But the committee emphasized that parents “should not intervene in the management of the athletes since the coaches are around.” (Aileen Refuerzo/PIO)