Joan Mojdeh, mother of Philippine Swimming League swimmer Jasmine, who recently broke national junior records, wrote to Malacañang regarding the discriminatory and unfair selection process of the Philippine Swimming Inc. (PSi), the National Sports Association in swimming.
In the letter, Joan said she learned through a Singaporean friend that the Philippines will host the Southeast Asian Age Group in July in Laguna.
Joan dug into the information of the selection process and saw a memorandum issued by Psi stating that only members of their association will be allowed in the national team that will compete in the SEA Age Group meet.
So this would mean that her daughter Jasmine, who is not a member of PSi, will not have a fighting chance in the selection process even if at the age of 11, she broke the Philippine junior national record in 200 meter butterfly for category age group 13-under during the Middle East Open Championship in Dubai with a time of 2:25.82. The old record was 2:26.13.
Last year, the bronze medalist’s time was 2:26.54 for the 13-under age category.
According to Joan’s understanding, in all previous years, SEA Age Group was not funded by the Philippine Sports Commission for it is a part of the PSi program. This year, the PSi memorandum stated that only only swimmers who are members of PSi as of March 20, 2018 will be allowed to represent the Philippines. Swimmers who will qualify will be funded by PSC and PSi.
Joan can’t understand why an event funded by the government is so exclusive. Joan said the PSC’s mandate is sports is for everyone, as long as you are a citizen of this country. Fair selection should be based on an athlete’s performance, not on the association he or she belongs to. She asked if Jasmine, who is a legitimate Filipino citizen, will not be allowed to compete even if she is the fastest in her age group just because she does not belong to the right association. What kind of system is this?
The government’s money is the people’s money. Filipinos have the right to know if the taxes they paid are being used to fund the right programs and projects.
Joan expressed her disgust. She could not answer her daughter when she asked why she could not represent the country when she is the best in her event.
Jasmine’s ultimate dream is to be the first Filipina to win a gold medal in the Olympics. As a mother, Joan continues to encourage her daughter because she believes that someday she will attain it.
Joan pleads, “Please, let our kids keep hoping on attaining that beautiful dream. Help us eradicate this crooked system that are drowning our athletes. We just appeal that there is a fair selection process of national team members regardless of organization. We do not aspire for anything more.”
On March 26, 2018, the Office of the Presidential Complaint Center under Assistant Secretary Jaime Mabilin asked PSC chairman William Ramirez for appropriate action subject to existing laws.
Under the law, the PSC’s legal mandate, created through Republic Act 6847 in 1990, is to serve as the “sole policy-making and coordinating body of all amateur sports development programs and institutions in the Philippines.” Its primary function is “to provide leadership, formulate the policies and set the priorities and directions of all national sports promotion and development, particularly giving emphasis on grassroots participation.”
The two basic objectives of PSC are to increase participation and excellence in sports.
The PSC mission is to provide assistance to stakeholders and partners, support the specially talented athletes for high level competitions and promote the development of physical qualities and moral values.
The PSC can impose sanctions against national sports associations, bodies, entities, teams, athletes or sports who violate PSC policies, rules and regulations.
Hence, the PSC must act appropriately on the case of Jasmine Mojdeh.