William “Butch” Ramirez said that he would prioritize the revival of the institute of sports upon his return as Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman under the administration President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
Ramirez explained that the institute of sports, which will have a national and international scope, is the key to realize the country’s goal of winning its very first gold medal in the Olympics.
Ramirez announced on Wednesday that he accepted Duterte’s offer for him to be the head of the PSC.
“For country, for the love of sports and for our president, I accepted it,” Ramirez said. “I still have unfinished business left in the PSC. I will do my best and take the job seriously.”
“It is very hard to decline the offer especially if it comes from the president,” added Ramirez, who campaigned for Duterte during the recent election.
“Under the Duterte administration, I will revive the institute of sports to help athletes and coaches to excel in their respective sports,” Ramirez, 66, told The Manila Times. “In national scope, we will expand the regional training centers in different regions and provinces. We can easily identify talents from there.”
Ramirez turned over the PSC post to Harry Angping in 2009. The institute of sports was discontinued when Richie Garcia replaced Angping in 2010.
“I believe in six years, we are going to tap several talents that could help us not only ending the Olympic gold medal drought but also winning in different international competitions like Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and others.”
“There will be a collaboration with other governments and private agencies to make this a reality.”
He stressed that the institute of sports will help Filipino athletes, coaches and trainers to train and study abroad. “If they meet the benchmark, I think they will qualify to go abroad and train.”
“Before, we already had countries like Spain, Australia and Czech Republic as our linkages.”
Ramirez, who served as PSC commissioner before becoming the agency’s chairman from 2004 to 2008, said that he would fight corruption and maintain transparency, “We will be transparent in every way like transparency in bidding,” he said. “Everybody will be accountable.”
Ramirez was cleared by the Sandiganbayan last week of the graft charges filed against him concerning the alleged irregularities in the purchase of cycling equipment for the Philippine team in the 2007 Southeast Asian Games.
He also said that he would not attend the Rio Olympics but instead will focus on the country’s preparation for next year’s Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia.