RAMON Fernandez hopes to draw from his experience as a former athlete in helping uplift the state of sports in the country when he takes office as commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
The four-time PBA MVP, who recently accepted President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's offer of becoming commissioner, is looking forward of making a significant contribution in improving the lives of Filipino athletes as he himself went through some tough times in his previous stints with the national team.
"I experienced the ills of Philippine sports and I think it has gone worse. It’s really time for the call of the President to change. Ang personal battle cry ko is change the game," said Fernandez, who joins swimmer Eric Buhain (chairman) and shuttler Weena Lim (commissioner) as among former national athletes who have been appointed in the top-level posts of the PSC.
"Maybe as a basketball player, hindi kami masyadong nahirapan because suportado kami ng Toyota and Crispa noong araw. But the other athletes, nakatira din ako sa tower sa Rizal noon when we played in the intercollegiate noon, alam ko ang sacrifices nila," he added.
Fernandez said he plans to 'change the game' through transparency in issuing PSC’s money to national sports associations and in making sure that the budget is used well.
"Isa sa mga suggestions ko kay chairman Butch (Ramirez) is we should take it upon us that the funds should be properly disbursed to the different NSAs. Ang isang tinitingnan ko na solusyon is mag-show kami ng example sa PSC like what the President is saying na they will implement the FOI (freedom of information)," he said.
"Kami din siguro iimplement din namin ‘yun sa PSC. You can check the finances sa internet, and may random audit ang mga NSAs. I think it’s just proper to account the people’s money," explained Fernandez.
The cage great will also bat for increasing the exposure of the youth athletes.
"I always give myself as an example. Malaki ako sa age ko. ‘Yung seven years old ako, mga kalaban ko mga 10 to 12 years old. When I was 15, mga 20 na kalaban ko. We have to expose them, ‘yung mga ages 12 to 15, that’s the only way to keep them abreast with the competition level," said Fernandez.