ANSWERING THE CALL
Spearheading the development of grassroots programs in the countryside will be the main mission of basketball legend Ramon Fernandez, who was appointed as one of the commissioners in the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Fernandez confirmed yesterday that he has accepted the offer to become one of four PSC commissioners, which will be headed by Butch Ramirez.
Ramirez, who served as PSC chairman from 2005 to 2009, will be taking over the PSC on July 1. He will replace Ritchie Garcia.
“I got a call from Bong Go yesterday (Wednesday) and I was informed that Butch has been appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to lead the PSC and I was chosen as a commissioner,” Fernandez told a group of sportswriters yesterday.
Go is the presidential special assistant.
Fernandez said he had talked to Ramirez and assured his support to the new PSC administration.
Fernandez had said he will only accept a PSC post if he will be allowed to hold office in Cebu. The condition was approved by Ramirez.
“I am humbled and privileged to be given the chance to serve the PSC. Serving PSC is my way of giving back to sports which brought me to where I am today,” Fernandez added.
“The directive of President Digong is to develop grassroots in the countryside,” said Fernandez.
Fernandez has already laid out his plans in an 11-page proposal entitled “Philippine Sports: Change the Game.”
“We should concentrate on sports where we can get medals,” said Fernandez.
“It’s about time to change and redirect the strategic goals and directions of Philippine sports. Under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte, our national sports programs should be consistent with the principles of community empowerment, decentralization and will envision a drug-free community for our youth and children,” said Fernandez.
He added: “We will allow our people, especially those from the countryside, more access to sports opportunities and facilities so that everyone can have a chance to benefit from the core values of sports regardless of age, location, ability or social status. We also aim to achieve milestones in international competitions, especially winning that most coveted first Olympic gold medal during the incumbency of President Duterte.”
In the proposal, Fernandez is looking to address three issues hounding Philippine sports which include funding, a weak sports culture and transparency.
Among his plans is to increase opportunities for athletic scholarships through private sector support as pathways for poor but deserving athletes; provide sports grants for athletes with disabilities; and make a policy of providing LGUs and private companies with blueprints of sports programs which they can utilize to encourage their workers to stay active and provide work-life balance for their employees.
Fernandez is also proposing to develop a Seniors Fitness Environment to allow them to stay active in their golden years; increase sports funding by direct congressional appropriation to a minimum of P1,000,000,000; take legislative action in order to amend the PSC charter to change obsolete funding sources coming from sweepstakes draws and horse racing.
His plans also include the review and reexamination of existing sports training programs and activities, nutrition plans, physiological and psychological guidelines to keep abreast with modern sports trends and development; strengthen existing school-based sports programs like the Palarong Pambansa and the Batang Pinoy; evaluate and continue with the successful PSC-POC programs and projects; avoid substandard sports equipment and facilities; provide technical and logistical support to upgrade or modernize existing sports facilities established by local government units; expose athletes to international competitions and foreign training programs; establish a mandatory and continuing coaches and trainers’ education and training; support the development of sports clubs that emanate from the community and empower them by providing logistical support; increase athletes’ allowances and review existing athlete reward system; establish a Coaching and Trainers Academy and create a special elite sports program support to elite athletes on various fronts, including coaching and training, sports science, sports medicine and monetary grants.
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