Gymnast barred from games for delayed submission of birth certificate

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 21 Feb) – A rhythmic gymnast from Kidapawan City was disqualified to compete in the Soccsksargen Regional Athletic Association (SRAA) meet for failing to submit on time an original copy of her birth certificate to the SRAA Regional Screening Committee, an official from the Department of Education (DepEd) in Region 12 said.

Anthony Maganto, spokesperson for DepEd-12, said Mary Juliet Raz, 14, a Grade 8 student from the Kidapawan City National High School (KCNHS), was given until 7:30 p.m. on February 18 to comply with the basic requirement.

“Yet, she failed to submit to the screening committee the document.  So the committee issued a decision,” said Maganto in an interview over Catholic-run dxND here.

Although Raz was allowed to perform in her event on February 20, she was not given a score for her performance. It also happened to her team, the official said.

Kidapawan City government’s legal officer Atty. Christopher Cabilen said Raz’s authenticated birth certificate was submitted to the screening committee on February 19, a day after the deadline.

“The mother [of Raz] is hoping against hope and rushed to General Santos City in the wee hours of February 19 to get the original. True enough, she was able to get it.  On the same day, we filed a letter of appeal with notice of compliance before the office of DepEd regional director and the Regional Screening and Accreditation Committee… but all efforts were futile,” said Cabilen in a post on his Facebook account.

He said they anchored their appeal on the fact that, “all games for the secondary rhythmic gymnastics are yet to be formally started on February 20.”

He said Raz has been playing consistently since elementary and for five consecutive years in the regional meet, “so the DepEd should have a record of her already.”

“If only DepEd has this system of recovering data and profiling of athletes, Raz should not have been burdened to submit another original copy because she has been playing for five years in the regional meet,” he said.

“… And after the athletes submitted their NSO [birth certificate] to DepEd, what will happen to those certificates? I presumed they are treated like garbage and conveniently thrown away,” he added.

Maganto explained that SRAA players “do come and go” so they oblige each athlete to submit requirements the basic of which is the original copy of birth certificate.

The guidelines, he added, were already given to coaches and athletes in each division.

“So how come they still failed to comply with the requirements? There was enough time to prepare,” he said.

“The screening committee already has a resolution that all those who fail to comply are disqualified to participate in SRAA. The committee should not entertain such complaint because there’s already a resolution and the coaches are aware of it. They can no longer pursue [sic] the SRAa meet unless they have complied with this at the division office,” he said in Filipino.

Asked if a court injunction could affect the results of the games, Maganto said, “We will comply if that is a court decision. But that should not happen. The games have been scheduled. A resolution has been approved. Everybody is aware of that.”

He said the rhythmic gymnastics event continued as scheduled.

As of 12 noon on Feb. 21, the Kidapawan City Schools Division landed on the 7th place with 21 gold, 29 silver and 39 bronze medals.

Leading the medal tally is General Santos City with 87 gold, 65 silver and 76 bronze medals.

Nine divisions in Region 12 competed in the SRAA meet – the cities of Cotabato, Kidapawan, Tacurong, General Santos, and Koronadal; and the provinces of Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani.

Winners in the regional meet will compete in the Palarong Pambansa in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur on April 15-20. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)