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Beginnings and endings in sports

  • Written by Ed Andaya
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 530

NEWS report: The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) withdrew its recognition of the Philippine
Karatedo Federation (PKF) and suspended all financial assistance over alleged misappropriation of
government funds.

The same report said: The PSC,  headed by Chairman Butch Ramirez,  said  it would also wait
for the findings of the National Bureau of  Investigation (NBI), which had similarly been conducting
an investigation on the matter.

Well, where would the athletes be without the PSC and its staunch and strong-willed
officials -- Ramirez and commissioners Ramon Fernandez, Charles Maxey,  Arnold  Agusitn and Celia
Kiram.
    
You do not want know.
    
Ever since taking over at the helm of the country’s government sports agency  under
President Duterte,  Ramirez and his commissioners have set out to put the house in order, take
politics out of sports and make sure the people's hard-earned money will be properly spent on sports
development.
    
It is a task as daunting and intimidating as the 12 Labors of Hercules but the rewards would
surely be as delightful and enjoyable  as the ascend to Mount Olympus.
    
“It’s a thankless job, but that’s what we are here (in PSC) for,” said Ramirez during a
dialogue with the officers of the Tabloid  Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) at the PSC
Administration Bldg. inside the Rizal  Memorial Sports Complex last Feb. 8.
    
“No less than President Duterte  put us here in the PSC to look after sports in our country,
especially the  welfare of our athletes,” explained Ramirez, who also  personally administered the
oath  of  office to the newly-formed association composed of sports editors, sportswriters,
columnists and photographers of the country’s leading  national tabloids.
    
“Fortunately, we have the President's ears. We have his full support,” added Ramirez, who
also  served as officer-in-charge of the Davao Sports Development Division and  adviser for sports
of the then-Davao Mayor Duterte in 2009.
    
It  is President Duterte's trust and confidence on Ramirez and his  four commissioners  that
provides inspiration to the new PSC leadership to pursue a no-nonsense  drive to make the  local
sports world a much better place again.
    
Even if it means crossing sword with Philippine Olympic Committee  (POC)  President Peping
Cojuangco and  the  so-called “Old Boys Club.”

What have the PSC done in less than two years in office under President Duterte?
    
Let us count the ways.
 
-- Launched  a  comprehensive, nationwide   grassroots sports development  program in
cooperation  with  local government units.

-- Introduced the Philippine Sports  Institute  (PSI)  under Marc Velasco.
    
-- Curbed corruption by investigating several  national sports associations with still
unliquidated financial assistance given to them by past PSC administrations.
    
-- Resolved leadership conflicts in several NSAs.
    
-- Organized the PSC Children's Games: No to Drugs,  Yes to  Sports  program  in select
cities and provinces in Luzon,  Visayas and Mindanao.
    
And  more  importantly,
        
-- Uncovered anomalies  in sports, such as  the  alleged failure of the  POC and Joey
Romasanta to give the Olympic Solidarity allowances to the 13 Filipino athletes who competed in the
Olympic Games in Rio amounting to P1.6 million, and the misappropriation of funds given to the PKF
as exposed by the athletes themselves and became the subject of an NBI investigation.
    
Is it   government intervention in sports?
     
You can't help it, since these NSAs asked and were given government money  and the PSC is
mandated by law to protect the interest of the government.
    
“As long as we're doing what we  think is right, we will continue to do it and exercise the
same political will  as shown by President Duterte in running our country,”  said Ramirez.
    
Ramirez, Fernandez and Maxey did not  hide their excitement with the creation of TOPS and
meeting the sports editors and writers, whom they call as their “partners  for change.”

To them, it’s a good beginning.
         
And turning their sights on the  court-ordered  POC elections on  Feb. 23,  they  now hope
for a real change. Maybe an era in sports is finally coming to end.
    
A  welcome ending for good of sports.
         
Last Feb. 8, the PSC talked about beginnings and endings.    
         
*   *   *

Please say a prayer  to one  of  my  favorite  uncles Ernesto   “Bobby” Susano, whose family  
is marking his  eighth  death anniversary  today (Feb. 12).   Uncle  Bob   was   avid   fan of  PBA  
legend  Robert Jaworski and  his  Barangay Ginebra  team. Bobby and  his brother Tony  were  my  
regular companions  when  watching  the    Crispa-Toyota games  at the general admission  section of
the  Araneta Coliseum  in the late 70s.
    
We missed him today.     

NOTES -- Belated happy fiesta of Our Lady of  Lourdes to all our relatives and  friends in
Quezon City last Feb. 11. The celebration  was  made even more  memorable  since it was the 160th  
anniversary of the Apparition  of Our Lady to St. Bernadette in  Lourdes, France.  The National
Shrine  of  Our Lady of Lourdes  in  La Loma is  now  one of  the  most beautiful churches in  the
country.

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