CEBU

Limpag: Tragedy

IT’S easy to spot who to blame in the accident involving athletes in Boljoon. It’s easy too, to say, that this could have been avoided. Hindsight, like they all say, gives everyone 20/20 vision.

It’s easy too, to point out the contrast, about how Suroy-Suroy Sugbo gets the best tourist buses, while the athletes get the dump trucks. But that only drives an unnecessary wedge, right? Besides, one is a meet organized by the Department of Education (DepEd) while the other is that of the Province.

A lot will be pointing at who to blame in the next few days, so I’m not going to join that. I know the DepEd officials will be quickly blamed for their lack of foresight but I know none of them wanted this to happen. And I think, save for the parents and family involved, they are more horror-stricken than us because of the accident.

I used to believe, because of what I experienced as an athlete in DepEd meets in Mindanao, being left to our own resources, that DepEd officials really don’t care about athletes and are after their own comfort. This notion of officials--non officiating officials in DepEd parlance--was further boosted in non-athletic contests that I joined where my delegation got the same treatment.

But here in Cebu, the athletes’ welfare is the No. 1 concern. Sure, there were times that it seems it isn’t, but I blame it on ignorance, especially on officials not knowing how taxing back-to-back schedules or twice-a-day matches would be. But that has changed, too.

Using dump trucks to ferry people should have been banned a long time ago but each town has practices borne out of necessity. In my case, we slept in tents and stole candles in the cemetery because there weren’t enough rooms for the students, much more for athletes in the Provincial Meet. It was the norm, then--sleeping in tents, not the stealing of candles.

You drive down south long enough you see all sorts of unsafe practices when it comes to transporting people. Modes of transportation that make you think they are just an accident waiting to happen.

I hope, after the blame game, concrete actions will be taken to ensure the safety of the athletes when they travel to athletic meets. Dump trucks, no matter how reliable in previous trips, should cease to be an option.

SEAG FACTOR. It’s interesting how the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games (Seag) has taken a political tone, with presumptive House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano getting dragged into the mess.

When the issue on overpriced uniforms was first raised, I was confident that it was aboveboard because I thought any office that involves Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez would be free of anomalies since I know he’s a stickler for rules.The Philippine Seag Organizing Committee Foundation, which PSC is a member, is headed by Cayetano.

But a few days ago, President Duterte said he wanted a probe on corruption allegations on the Foundation and would that call be a factor in the speakership issue? I don’t know. I just hope that a probe will be done and that it won’t affect our hosting.


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