My last article opened the eyes of many Philippine sports enthusiasts.
I received a deluge of emails, private messages and calls.
I am happy that at least they began to understand the sad plight of sports in our country. I am merely trying to do my share to make things better particularly in swimming.
Democratizing Philippine swimming is just like giving birth to a child—there is so much labor pain.
I sent my last article to President Rodrigo Duterte with high hopes that change is coming.
In behalf of the Philippine Swimming League (PSL) community, I first of all congratulated him for becoming the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines.
I said that together with the millions of Filipinos who gave him a resounding victory last election, the PSL community is confident that change is finally coming, particularly in Philippine sports.
I also related to him the concerns of our young athletes in general and our young swimmers in particular.
The PSL has developed beginners and advanced/elite swimmers training program and has participated in local and international swimming competitions.
One of the programs of PSL requires its swimmers to join in age group competitions and invitational games in the Asian region and in Australia. We were also lucky to get invitation to compete in Cape Town, South Africa in 2014.
These competitions are not under the auspices and jurisdiction of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) but are hosted by swimming associations and/or clubs of different countries with the aim of fostering sportsmanship.
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) dictating orders to government sports agencies such as the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in many instances causes problems.
I remember when I read the memorandum coming from POC that states all athletes, teams and coaches and officials participating in any sports competition outside the country need to seek approval from the POC.
I recalled a seven-year old swimmer told me that he has to be a Philippine Swimming, Inc. (PSi) member to be part of the Olympic swimming team. PSi is the POC-sanctioned national sports association for swimming.
I told him that in actuality the basic requirements are first, he must be a Filipino citizen, and second, that he met the Olympic Qualifying Standard Time.
I further explained that being a PSi swimmer, does not guarantee him to become a member of the Philippine Olympic swimming team.
However, if you met the Olympic Qualifying Time Standard even if you are not a PSi member, the POC, if it’s true to its responsibility of sending the best athletes to the Olympics should recruit you for the national team.
The POC should only be concerned with the ideals and activities of the IOC and the Olympics. It only has jurisdiction over games sanctioned by the IOC. It has no power to regulate, sanction or supervise sports organizations, like the PSL.
In Republic Act No. 6847, An Act Creating and Establishing the Philippine Sports Commission, Defining Its Powers, Functions and Responsibilities, Appropriating Funds Section 6. Objectives of the Commission – The objectives of the Commission states: (a) to provide the leadership, formulate the policies and set the priorities and direction of all national amateur sports promotion and development, particularly giving emphasis on grassroots participation; (b) to encourage wide participation of all sectors, government and private, in amateur sports promotion and development, and (c) to supplement government appropriations for sports promotion and development.
On Section 7 of R.A. 6847 – Function of the Commission: The Commission shall (a) plan, implement and oversee an integrated amateur sports promotion and development program for the country, including the program for the Decade of Physical Fitness and Sports: 1990-2000, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 406, in coordination with various sectors involved in sports, including, among others, the POC, the National Sports Associations (NSAs), the public and private schools, government corporations and entities, the local governments, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other sports organizations and private corporations.
Under Section 4 of R.A. No. 6847 – Status of the Commission: It states that the Commission shall have the same status as that of the governmental regulatory national agency attached to the Office of the President with the Chairman thereof being of the same level as a department undersecretary and the Commissioners that of department assistant secretaries.
Finally, to our President Rodrigo Duterte, the hope of our young Filipino athletes for the democratization of Philippine Sports is in your hands.
Mabuhay po kayo!