(First of two parts)
The Philippine Swimming League (PSL) community was moved by the call for change and transformation by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
The Philippine swimming community believes that now is the time for its voice to be heard.
President-Elect Duterte, please listen to our young swimmers; their parents and coaches speak.
These people were among those who prayed for your victory.
They believe that your strong leadership will bring back discipline in our country.
There are pressing issues in the swimming community that must be resolved.
The country’s program for the development of swimming as a sport was not spared from fraudulent practices.
Millions of pesos are being drawn from government funds purportedly for the swimmers, only to be pocketed by corrupt government officials. These funds must be protected.
To close our eyes to this prevailing situation is to condone fraud and to compromise the interest of our young swimmers.
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), and the POC-supported NSA for swimming Philippine Swimming, Inc. (PSi) are guilty of these acts.
Mark Joseph’s ascent to the presidency of the PSi has since been seriously questioned from the start, and rightly so, because it lacks legal basis.
But it matters little now. What is more important now is that the abuses and dishonest practices he committed be put to stop, permanently.
By falsely citing FINA rules, his leadership has unjustly stripped young swimmers of medals they’ve won legitimately. Those competing overseas were sometimes accused of carrying fake Philippine passports; community swimming competitions were stopped and coaches seeking further education were threatened with suspension.
Without complicating matters further, it is plain to us that he is not fit for his position.
He neither had the gift of leadership nor possessed the influence and moral force to lead the Philippine swimming community to achieve its goals.
We call on the Office of the President to please appoint just and qualified people to man these government agencies and organizations.
Government intervention is therefore sought for. Interference by the State in the concept of a good father of a family (bonus pater familias) is justified as it involves protection of rights of individuals.
The Philippines is yet to win its first gold medal in the Olympics.
But in swimming, until and unless the government rid its NSA of corruption, winning gold medals is a delusion. It doesn’t take too many years to build an Olympian, and that the country should start planning long term if it is serious in making Filipinos excel in sports. We need to educate those who can make a change; it is time to make a change.
As I’ve said before, accountability must start from the top and this pertains to the PSC and the POC.
Even now; the current PSC leadership is guilty of a shameful act.
They denied swimmers of travel tax exemption amounting to P1,620. I repeat, a travel tax exemption endorsement that will not cost the PSC a single centavo. Instead of motivating our young athletes, they are demoralizing them.
In Australia where we have competed recently, the Australian government waived the visa fee of our team members amounting to P6,000 each.