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Call of duty for Fernandez

Duterte and Fernandez
PBA legend Ramon Fernandez with President Duterte

THE Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) will continue to work closely with the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the different national sports associations to bring out the best in the Filipino athletes.

This was the assurance of PBA legend Ramon Fernandez, who is set to be named by Malacanang as officer-in-charge of the government sports agency anytime this week, when asked about his plans.

Fernandez will take the place of PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, who has taken a leave of absence from the PSC to take care of his ailing wife Mercy.

“It is a call of duty. Pero OIC lang naman, Lahat kami na-appoint na OIC several times already. I will just continue the plans that, we as a PSC Board, put in place,” Fernandez told People’s Tonight in an interview yesterday.

“I wll continue to check the programs for the Olympic qualifiers, especially those who still have to qualify,” added Fernandez, who flew in to Manila from Cebu to meet with Chairman Ramirez and fellow commissioners Charles Maxey, Arnold Agustin and Celia Kiram.

“It’s business as usual in the PSC. That means working closely with the POC, the NSAs and even the Chef de Mission , so we can identify the athletes with the highest chance to qualify in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.”

While admitting the appointment as the OIC is a big honor for him, the 66-year-old Fernandez claimed he is taking over at a crucial time when sports is still reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will continue to push forward even with our chairman away,” stressed Fernandez, a four-time PBA MVP who won a record 19 PBA titles from 1975 to 1994.

One of the urgent matters on Fernandez’s mind is a meeting with POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino to discuss his proposal to allow select athletes to resume actual training even during the quarantine period.

The news of Fernandez’s appointment after Ramirez wrote a letter to President Duterte through Executive secretary Salvador Medialdea last June 19 and asked for a leave of absence.

In his letter, Ramirez said his wife underwent gall bladder surgery at St. Luke’s Hospital in Taguig City and “needs my personal care and attention.”

Ramirez assured he wil be back to office on July 20.

Earlier, Fernandez said the PSC coaching certification course in the Visayas will push thru as scheduled.

The five-day coaching course scheduled July 27 will be held despite the continuing threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“There were a lot of programs that we planned out that got cancelled due to the pandemic. So we decided to zoom in to key factors in sports development, including training of coaches,” said Fernandez during the PSC weekend chat on Facebook.

The PBA legend-turned-sports official said the PSC will do it via online instead of the usual face-to-face setting.

Fernandez said the coaching course is free, but that aspiring coaches need to get endorsement from their respective LGUs.

He also said that one of the positive things in the current situation if going online is that the PSC will not spend money to accommodate the more than 800 participants.

“The PSC would not spend that much with this online-only program. We don’t have to bring them  to a specific place classes.”

Publication Source :    People's Tonight
Ed Andaya
Sports Editor - People's Tonight