IT'S a wise choice, I would say for the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to pick the El Presidente himself, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner Ramon Fernandez to be at the forefront of preparations in the country's participation in the 2021 Southeast (SEA) Games slated November 21 to December 2 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Com Mon, as we often address him, will be taking after the successful chef de mission duties of our Davao's very own PSC Chairman William "Butch" Ramirez who steered the Philippine delegation to an overall championship in the 30th SEA Games, which the country hosted in 2019.
The Cebu-based commissioner, aside from he has been a legendary figure in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) during his prime, has proven time and again his bias for the welfare of the athletes who are the premium role players in the Games.
I remember him taking a stand for our first-ever Olympian marathoner Mary Joy Tabal who had a falling out with the national association for track and field and for also helping out karatekas who complained against officials who mishandled their allowances while training abroad. The list goes on.
Quoted by SunStar Cebu, Fernandez said, "I'm humbled and honored to be appointed. I will work hard to live up to the challenge and duplicate the success that chairman Butch Ramirez was able to accomplish. With his help and guidance, we will still be able to perform well in Vietnam."
Taking on a very daunting task such as being a PH chef de mission in the SEA Games is indeed a humbling yet fulfilling experience.
Com Mon will have his hands full with barely 10 months to go for the preparations.
But with him around, just like Chairman Butch, the athletes are in good hands. We can be rest assured that athletes' welfare would always come first.
We are hoping though that the Philippine flag will soar anew in Hanoi.