JUST days before President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will take his oath in Malacañang, the new Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Board has just been completed with former Sun.Star Davao editor Charles Raymond Maxey as new commissioner of the national sports agency.
This was confirmed Friday by comebacking PSC Chairman William "Butch" Ramirez in a text message to Sun.Star Davao.
Ramirez said, "Board Commissioners as approved by the Search Committee: Ramon Fernandez, Celia Kiram, Arnold Agustin, Charles Maxey and executive director Atty. Carlo Abarquez. Confirmed by Bong Go."
Go, special assistant to Duterte, also bared Maxey's recommendation as PSC commissioner to this writer Thursday via Viber message.
"We recommend Charles," Go said.
The 48-year-old Maxey, in an interview at the Sun.Star Davao office yesterday, said, "Satinuodlang (honestly) I was not expecting this kind of position but I would like to thank the president for giving me the opportunity to work under him and to serve him. I thank Sir Butch and Sir Bong Go for considering me as one of the board commissioners of the PSC."
He started as a reporter of Peryodiko Dabaw in 1989 and was assigned to then Mayor Duterte for two months before he was moved to the sports beat for about three years. When Peryodiko Dabaw became Sun.Star Davao, he was reassigned to the City Hall beat before he was promoted as sports editor in 2004 when his late father Ram Maxey, then the sports editor, retired.
He also had stints as business editor and as news editor before he resigned to join Ramirez at the Sports Development Division of the City Mayor's Office (SDD-CMO) after Duterte returned as Mayor in 2013. While Ramirez is officer-in-charge of SDD-CMO, Maxey serves as his executive program director. The staging of the first Tribal Games, Midnight Cup basketball for children involved in gangs, Davao Athletes Recognition Night and sports trainings in the barangays were among their achievements aside from the annual holding of the Araw ng Dabaw and Kadayawan sa Dabaw sports festivals and summerfest.
He is also consultant of Edge Davao since 2015.
Maxey, married to Bella Marie and father to 19-year-old Andrea Patricia, a fourth year Medical Technology student at San Pedro College (SPC) here, said, "Hangtod karon dili ko katuo (I still can't believe it). I'm happy that I have been given the chance to serve the country. I have mixed feelings but since gihatag ni sa akoa na position, we will try my best to work religiously for the people, for the sporting community."
The Davao Sportswriters Association (DSA), a 21-year-old organization where Maxey is a pioneer member, endorsed him to President-elect Duterte with a letter handed to Go last June 18 at Seda Hotel. Maxey also served as DSA president from 2005 to 2012.
As a commissioner from Davao, and as a Mindanaoan, Maxey aims to revive programs that will give more focus on the island.
He said, "As I understand the marching order of the President, focus on the grassroots. We will just have to do it."
He also said that Ramirez's programs in the PSC before, Mindanao Friendship Games and Sports for Peace, need to be revived.
"It's public knowldege that Mindanao has been neglected in all aspects, even in sports. With the incoming administration of incoming President Duterte, we will really focus on giving Mindanao its deserved importance.
When Chairman Butch was at PSC under former PGMA (President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo), he implemented sports for peace. I think with him back at the helm, we will continue sports for peace in line with the President's quest for long and lasting peace in the country not only in Mindanao," he added.
He was sports editor of Sun.Star Davao when he covered the Sports for Peace in Midsayap, North Cotabato in 2008. He recalled that participants were children of Moro International Liberation Front (MILF) fighters.
"The sons and daughters of MILF fighters were housed two or three days for sports clinics and games. Ang mga bata gitagaan ug sports equipment, ang ilang mga sapatos gibutangan og cellophane kay dili nila gusto mahugawan (The kids received sports equipment and shoes that they wrapped in plastic to prevent it from dirt). It's a good program for peace."
He also would like to bring Davao's Tribal Games program to the national level.
Having covered various sporting events in different places, Maxey also aims to put primary focus on the athletes having seen and understood their plight.
"Sir Butch once said the athletes are the heart and soul of PSC. We need to enhance or strengthen existing programs for their welfare. Sa training, equipment dapat talaga ibigay sa kanila. We must see to it that PSC resources will really reach intended beneficiaries, the athletes."
Maxey is set to meet with Ramirez today to talk about his duties and responsibilities and to also brief him with the ins and outs of the PSC.
He said, "I don't pretend to know everything. Mag-seek advise ko sa mga beterano. Being a journalist though, I will see to it that relationship between government and the media will be harmonious through the PSC. We will be transparent. I invite media to criticize us if these are objective, no problem. We welcome that."
He might suggest a regular press briefing to update media on PSC's programs.
Incoming PSC Commissioner Kiram is currently the president of the Philippine Pencak Silat Association while Agustin is currently acting chief of the PSC Assistance and Coordination Division.
Incoming Executive Director Abarquez is a lawyer who hails from Davao City. He is the son of lawyer Ruben Abarquez.