SHAPE up now – or be sorry later. Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez made this firm warning to all national sports associations which can’t get their acts together for many years now.
“The time to shape up is now or face the consequences, like losing financial assistance from the PSC,” said Ramirez during the first-ever “Usapang Sports” by the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) at the National Press Club.
Ramirez expressed displeasure that at least 13 NSAs remain at loggerheads despite efforts of the PSC to mediate and look into the problems for immediate and acceptable resolution.
“We have already talked to several NSA na may leadership dispute at may problema pa sa liquidation ng kanilang cash advances. We have schedule consultative meeting with the POC. In fact, we are very cordial and generous in all our dealings with these NSAs. But time’s up,” said Ramirez, who appeared during the weekly sports forum with Games and Amusement Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra.
“They (NSAs) have to resolve their differences and come up with a united front by the first quarter of 2019 to continue to enjoy government assistance thru the PSC,” said Ramirez, a close ally of Presdient Duterte.
“May go signal na si Presidente sa amin. Kung ayaw mag-ayos at ayaw mag-liquidate, hindi na naming bibigyan ng financial assistance.”
Added Ramirez: “We also have to do our job to ensure that people’s money is well-spent and properly-used only on worthwhile sports activities,” added Ramirez, who plans to devote more time and money on grassroot sports development, like in the Palarong Pambansa, Batang Pinoy and Children’s Games.
He also clarified that the PSC is not meddling in the internal affairs of the NSAs, but frowns on the lack of concrete program.
“When the best swimmers and the best runners are excluded in tryouts, we also have to do something,” stressed Ramirez.
“Under the Philippine constitution, every Filipino has the rights. Kung hindi mo sila pasalihin sa tryouts para sa national team ibang usapan na ‘yan. Kung hindi ninyo kami papakinggan, mabuti pa umalis na kayo sa Pilipinas.”
Ramirez also dismissed reports that he is set to leave the government sports agency and transfer to another government post where his services is more needed.
“As much as possible, I would like to stay in sports up to 2022. I feel I have to do many things that need to be done to improve sports in the country,” said Ramirez, who expressed confidence that he can perform the job given to him by President Duterte well.
On the coming 2019 Southeast Asian Games, Ramirez expressed confidence that work in satellite venues in Clark will be completed in time for the biennial competition.
He said the PSC has already allocated budget for the much-needed facelift of the decades-old Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila and the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
The PSC chief said private corporations have been lining up at the PSC office to offer their assistance for t he renovation of the two venues. “But we are worried that the general public will not be able to use these facilities once we allow the private sector to come into the picture,” explained Ramirez.