MANILA, JUNE 28, 2007
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez forwarded his resignation to Malacañang yesterday morning, and in the afternoon joined a group of athletes who flew to China for a two-month training under world-class coaches.

Ramirez drafted his three-page resignation letter Wednesday evening, a day he received a letter from Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita saying that the members of the PSC board should also step down as ordered by President Arroyo.

In his letter, Ramirez thanked the President and First Gentleman Mike Arroyo for the chance to serve the government sports agency. He was commissioner under the Estrada administration, and became chairman in July of 2005.

“For all these and more, I owe so much gratitude to you and the First Gentleman,” Ramirez said in his letter where he also enumerated his achievements as head of the PSC, foremost of which is the country’s winning the overall crown in the 2005 SEA Games.

The four commissioners, Ritchie Garcia, Leon Montemayor, Ambrocio de Luna and Jose Mundo, have also forwarded their resignations to Malacañang. De Luna and Mundo personally submitted their resignations yesterday.

The President asked all members of her Cabinet, department heads, and bureau chiefs to file their resignations a month after the May 14 elections. Also asked to step down are heads of the different GOCCs (government owned and controlled corporations).

“It’s the prerogative of the President to put in replacements in her government. She can replace some of us, or all of us if she wants to. But we will not abandon our jobs until we are replaced. We serve at the pleasure of the President,” Ramirez added.

At the PSC board room yesterday morning, Ramirez extolled the 20 athletes who are bound for China to give it their best even in training as they prepare for the 24th SEA Games in Thailand this December and the Beijing Olympics next year.

“You should be thankful for this chance. And you should thank government for this, and not the PSC, which is just an instrument. It’s the people’s money being spent for your training. So, you must give them a good return of investment,” said Ramirez.

“While training in China, think of the Filipino soldiers who are laying their lives in battle. Then think of yourselves who are being given this chance to train overseas and become better sportsmen,” said Ramirez as the athletes and coaches listened.

The athletes plus five coaches from diving, weightlifting, wushu and fencing left for China with Ramirez and Philippine Olympic Committee vice president Monico Puentevella. The athletes will stay there for two months.

Ramirez and Puentevella will stay in China for three days.

The athletes are Shiela Mae Perez, Niño Carog, Dhayna Lemay and twin sister Nicole, Jaime Asok, Reyex Ryan Fabriga, Kevin Kong and Zardo Domedion of diving; Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting; Benjie Rivera, Eduard Folayang, Marianne Mariano, Mary Rose Estimar, Willy Wang and Janice Hung of wushu; and Rolando Canlas, Veena Nuestro, Gian Nocom, Joanna Franquelli and Walbert Mendoza of fencing.

The coaches are Brian Palattao, Rodolfo Pahoyo, Ramon Solis, Liu Yu Fu and Ding Bao Yu.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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