Wednesday, July 7, 2010

PSC must stay out of politics – Garcia

Friendly, accommodating and down-to-earth, Richie Garcia hopes to bring a fresh perspective to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the multi-million peso government agency tasked with sports development.
The day after his name was mentioned as the next PSC chairman, Garcia said he would rather wait for the official appointment.
“Hanggang di ko hawak ang papeles, haka-haka pa lang yan,” said Garcia, a two-time sports commissioner who is also an avid golfer with a single digit handicap.
Still, Garcia dropped hints on what directions the PSC would take if and when he gets appointed.
“The first order of business would be to repair the relationship with the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC). We cannot survive without the other,” said Garcia who served under two former presidents.
Under the administration of Ambassador Harry Angping, the PSC did not see eye-to-eye with the POC over policy.
Angping’s no-nonsense drive against delinquent national sports associations (NSAs) and hard-line stance against sending big sports delegations abroad did not sit well with the POC.
As a result, the PSC official was left out of the national delegation that took part in the Southeast Asian Games in Laos last December.
That won’t happen under his watch, said Garcia, who is a close ally of POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr.
Garcia said he does not approve of PSC playing politics.
“The PSC should not take sides in disputes and focus only on its responsibilities,” he said.
Along with Garcia, the other commissioners who are expected to be appointed are former swimming queen Akiko Thomson, ex-basketball player Chito Loyzaga, former tennis association president Buddy Andrada and Little League chief Jolly Gomez.
Having worked with former chairmen Butch Tuason and Butch Ramirez, Garcia said he has a good idea on what should be done with the other board members.
“I believe that the other commissioners should be given more responsibilities other than attending board meetings,” Garcia said.
Garcia said he welcomes Angping’s pronouncement that he would be leaving the PSC with no liabilities.
“If that is true, then saludo ako sa kanya,” he said.
But then, Garcia said the PSC should not be run like a bank.
“Dapat gamitin ang pera para sa atleta,” he said.
News of the PSC reorganization has drawn positive reactions. Ramirez, the Davao-based educator, hailed the forthcoming appointment of Garcia.
“I had the pleasure of working with Richie (Garcia) and he’s one guy who does not mind working beyond 5 p.m.,” Ramirez said. “He genuinely loves sports and dedicated all his life for sports.”
Ramirez, who now helps the POC as Mindanao coordinator, said Garcia can count on his support.
POC spokesman Joey Romasanta said he’s grateful that Malacañang has acknowledged the importance of acting swiftly amid the country’s preparations for the Asian Games in November in Guangzhou.
Romasanta said the POC looks forward to working with the new PSC leadership.
Drawing parallelism from the country’s successful campaign in the 1986 Seoul Asian Games, Romasanta said he’s confident that the Filipinos will perform well in Guangzhou.
“The conditions were strikingly similar. President Cory had just assumed power when we took part in Seoul. I headed the delegation as Gintong Alay executive-director and we fared well,” said Romasanta who again will head the China-bound RP as chief of mission.

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