Sports

Ironing kinks, Fernandez turns to Congress for athletes’ voting rights


Ramon Fernandez

PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Commissioner Ramon Fernandez of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has been covering all bases and areas of concern for the buildup of Team Philippines in the forthcoming 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEAG).

With the clearance for the training of athletes inside two PSC-controlled facilities ticked off the list, the next important undertaking for Fernandez, the country’s chef de mission to the Games, is the challenge of having the SEAG-bound athletes and officials cast their votes in the national elections.

“There’s one area that I think needs to be resolved and this is how our athletes and officials can exercise their right to suffrage,’’ said Fernandez.

Close to 1,000 members of the Philippine delegation to the SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, including 626 athletes from 39 sports, will miss casting their votes in the presidential elections scheduled May 9 next year.

The SEA Games will come off the wraps on May 12.

Under normal circumstances, athletes and coaches travel to the host country of the SEA Games a week before or days prior to the opening ceremony for them to settle in ahead of the 11-nation sportsfest.

“Our delegation has to be there at least a week and for some, even earlier. They could miss the opportunity of exercising their rights,’’ said Fernandez.

“I hope that our friends from Congress and the Senate can help us make arrangements with the Comelec (Commission on Elections),’’ added the basketball legend and four-time Most Valuable Player in the Philippine Basketball Association.

Fernandez announced in the recent PSC Hour hosted by Radyo Pilipinas 2 that sports facilities inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila and the Philsports Complex in Pasig City received clearance to host the training of national athletes.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Department of Health opened the doors for the athletes in both venues.

According to Fernandez, PSC executive director Guillermo Iroy and Philippine Sports Institute national training director Marc Edward Velasco have been crafting the safety and health protocols for the national sports associations that will use the facilities. INQ

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