Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Incoming PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez proposes 3-point plan to “change the game”

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Incoming PSC commissioner Ramond Fernandez proposes 3-point plan to “change the game”
by rick olivares

Philippine basketball great Ramon Fernandez who was appointed by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte as one of the commissioners for the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) last Tuesday, June 22, presented a paper with the battle cry “Change the Game”.

Fernandez is one of the four commissioners who will be reporting to PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez who received his re-appointment also yesterday. The three other commissioners have yet to be named.

In the 11-page proposal to the President and to Ramirez, Fernandez identified three key issues that hounds Philippine sports — funding, a weak sports culture, and transparency — and offered programs regarding access and decentralization of the PSC, pathways to increase opportunities for athletes and coaches, increasing capabilities, and accountability and transparency.

Create ready access and decentralize sports programs. 
“We should institutionalize the geographic and sectoral representation of commissioners to do away with the highly centralized system. Thus, there should be commissioners for Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and for Special Concerns (special athletes, gender sensitivity, sectoral sports etc). Under this set-up, commissioners can focus on the needs of the regions and sectors with more attention. This also gives “presence” of the PSC in the provinces where it has been invisible for so many years.”

While Fernandez is batting for decentralization, he underscored the need for a national sports facilities master plan from which all regional efforts will flow. “We should look into the creation of more sports facilities in local communities especially in the provinces,” he said. Fernandez listed swimming pools, boxing gyms, and venues for track and field events as priorities because they have been a goldmine for medals in international competition. 

But the incoming PSC commissioner also underscored the need to "look into other emerging areas where we have recently become more competitive like the weight based sports and how they can be brought to the communities."

Pathways for opportunities.
“We should increase opportunities for athletic scholarships and grants for athletes with disabilities,” suggested the Leyte native who is considered to be the greatest player to have played in the Philippine Basketball Association. 

He also recommended a Seniors Fitness Environment to allow senior citizens to stay active in their years.

Strengthening existing capabilities 
A manifold program that calls for the increase in sports funding and evaluating existing programs in order to modernize them. In his proposal, Fernandez makes it clear that the PSC must not reinvent the wheel. “Successful POC-PSC projects should be continued,” he stressed. “Existing programs like the Palarong Pambansa and the Batang Pinoy should be strengthened.” 

Fernandez is also batting for the continuation of exposure of local athetes to international competition and foreign training programs yet at the same time, ensuring that local coaches also undergo mandatory training and education as well in a Coaching and Trainers Academy.

“We should also Increase athlete allowances and review existing reward system.”

A call for accountability and transparency.
“We should institutionalize oversight functions over the POC and the NSAs since they receive funding from the government,” pronounced Fernandez. “Funds given should be subject to government audit while financial statements must be uploaded by the NSAs to their websites for public access and transparency.”

“The POC must also submit to the Office of the President, the Senate President, and the Speaker of the House a report detailing their financial and operation performance for the preceding year.”

“It’s time to 'change the game' and put an end to a highly centralized, politics and corruption-plagued sports commission run mainly in Manila,” summed up Fernandez. “We have to decentralize and bring back sports to the communities where it rightfully belongs and where its core values will be strongly felt by the people. It is time for a sports commission that will be accessible with pathways that will produce opportunities for the people to play more sports in a modern, safe, and drug-free environment that includes schools, communities, and the countryside." 

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