OSS to reinstitute SDO; plans to restore athletic fees in AY 2022-2023

Originally published in HF Volume 36 Issue 1

Following the Sports Development Office (SDO) dissolution in the academic year (AY) 2020-2021 due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Office of Student Services (OSS) Dean Domingo Reblora Jr. has confirmed that his office eyes to reestablish the sports office in AY 2022-2023. 

In an online interview with The HERALDO FILIPINO, the OSS Dean revealed that Vice Chancellor for Academics and Research (VCAR) Dr. Marco Saez tapped his office on February 16 for the reinstitution of the SDO, the unit responsible for sports and recreation matters in the University. 

New SDO coordinator

As for the revival of the abolished sports office, the OSS dean stated that the first step toward its reinstitution is to appoint a sports coordinator who will “study, revise the guidelines at hand, and propose which sports can be restored soon.” He emphasized that the major task of the future coordinator is focused on the roadmap plan for the SDO in the succeeding years, and that the University competitive activities are reliant on the SDO’s outlined proposal. 

“It (SDO) used to have a director and sports coordinator, but this time, I was only asked to come up with a coordinatorship. After hopefully one semester, when we have a full swing of reinstatement or reinstitution of SDO, we can have by then the director and the sports coordinator who would be helping each other to resurrect where we were prior to the pandemic, sports-wise,” Reblora said. 

Although the OSS dean shared that he is already eyeing for a particular faculty to take the helm, he is still anticipating a short-list endorsement from National Service Training Program-Civic Welfare Training Service (NSTP-CWTS) Coordinator Julius Tibayan. 

“I told him to talk to his faculty members who are willing to embrace the task […] And out of the short list, the OSS will choose whom we shall be appointing as the sports coordinator,” he added. 

Recruitment process revival

Meanwhile, with Philippine sports leagues slowly returning to the scene, Reblora admits  that there is a need to revive the tryouts and recruitment process for future Patriots. However, the OSS Dean also pointed out that this still depends on the plans to be drafted by the soon to be appointed sports coordinator. 

“Basically, we might be recalling if they are still amenable with the terms and conditions, our athletes who are now in their provinces. And I am afraid a good number of them will be graduating this school year 2021-2022, so we have to start the recruitment process,” he explained.

Reblora also mentioned that even the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is having difficulty figuring out how to proceed with the recruitment process as most of the Senior High School (SHS) students are enrolled in fully online mode of classes, and most probably recruiters are yet to see the promising athletes play. 

With these factors at hand, Reblora described the future recruitment process as a “gargantuan task” for the incoming sports coordinator. 

On previous SDO matters 

In line with the SDO reinstitution, the OSS Dean also assured that previous conflicts from the dissolution have been resolved, including the stipend for 17 contractual coaches in 2020. 

“I consulted the finance and accounting office relative to that […] Unfortunately, it was a little delayed than the usual payroll scheme, but all of them are properly given the stipend,” said Reblora, clarifying that the delay was caused by a misunderstanding on the part of the accounting office and the then-SDO director. 

“All the while, right after the lockdown, the accounting office thought that the sports activities have stopped as well, not knowing that the [previous] SDO Director (Mr. John Casidsid) enjoined the coaches to continue training our student athletes [online] para [raw] hindi mawala sa kondisyon,” he explained. 

Despite this, Reblora disclosed that all the contractual coaches affected by the pandemic and the SDO dissolution were paid until the special term of AY 2019-2020. 

Additionally, the OSS dean clarified that the allotted budget for the 2020 Private Schools Athletic Association, which was halted amid the pandemic, was “still intact.” He furthered that the budget was partially utilized since the student-athletes were still able to compete before the league was canceled.

Meanwhile, he also reported that most of the athletic fees collected from the students in the AY 2019-2020 was utilized for maintaining the scholarships of the student-athletes, wherein “a good number” of them still received 100% free tuition during the first semester of AY 2020-2021. 

However, with the SDO being dissolved during the second semester of the previous AY, athletes were converted to student-assistant (SA) status who might be given at least 50% grant of scholarship without guarantee, as they had to apply for it first and qualify for the same criteria with SA scholars. 

“I called a meeting with our student-athletes to announce this sad news. And those who couldn’t pay for the another 50% of the tuition fee decided to take a leave of absence,” he shared.

On athletic fees and University sports ahead

Along with plans to reestablish the SDO and appoint its new head, Reblora also aims to coordinate with the University Student Government (USG) and school administrators to begin levying athletic fees from the students in AY 2022-2023, after suspending the athletic fee collection in the past two academic years. 

The OSS dean holds on to this, along with possible donors who might invest in DLSU-D sports programs, and believes that the return of athletic fees will be instrumental for the ‘bright future’ of the University’s sports community. 

“I suppose DLSU-D is aware how sports is developing all aspects of being a human—social, emotional, psychological, so on and so forth. So importante na ma-restore talaga ang sports to where it was prior to the pandemic,” he reiterated.

Although he also considers possible hindrances due to the restrictions imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), Reblora still expresses his positive outlook on the potential results of their plans. 

With this, Reblora urged the rest of the sports community to “continue to support the endeavors of our school. It should be a collaboration within and among the administrators, faculty and staff, our students, and our parents’ organization. I’m very positive we will be able to go back soon to where we were prior to the pandemic, sports-wise.”

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