As president and founder of the Philippine Swimming League (PSL), I have nothing in mind but to protect my swimming community. The PSL swimming community is my family. I have a moral and legal obligation to protect the swimmers, officials, coaches, volunteers and parents of the PSL.
I am morally bound to keep the integrity of this institution. We teach members of our community to live by high moral principles. Why am I saying this?
Recently, I attended the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Top Level Consultative Meeting on Development Plan for Philippine Sports and set up of Philippine Sports Institute with former Senator Nikki Coseteng and PSL Secretary General Dr. Susan Benasa.
The first day was very informative.
I remember Hon. Michael Romero, Hon. Mark Aeron Sambal and Hon. Condrado Estrella imparting their plans on how to make our athletes more competitive in international competitions.
Writer Quinito Henson, who was NOT in the program of activities, delivered a talk the second day. According to the emcee, Henson just happened to drop by.
Henson mentioned that the PSL is a renegade group and that our swimmers are on the wrong side of the fence.
As a journalist, I am sure Henson knows the basics of good manners and right conduct.
Just like Henson, I am also a writer. I maintain my integrity as a writer by being guided by my heart and soul plus wisdom from the Almighty.
Let me quote a portion of the Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct of the Philippine Press, “I shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts nor to distort the truth by omission or improper emphasis. I recognize the duty to air the other side and the duty to correct substantive errors promptly.”
What Henson said in the meeting was a distortion of facts, was misleading and a misrepresentation.
Let me introduce Henson to what the PSL is.
PSL was created with the aim to democratize sports in the Philippines particularly swimming. It was created to open the sport of swimming to everyone. No membership fee is required to join the PSL and its tournaments. PSL is not exclusive, and anyone is welcome to join whether rich or poor.
In its five years of existence, the PSL has already organized 101 (and counting) national and regional swimming competitions. It has sent 449 swimmers and 43 coaches in international competitions during the said period.
It has competed in more than 30 international contests held in Cape Town, South Africa, Perth, Australia, Tokyo, Japan, China, Singapore, Russia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei.
The PSL won the team championship in Singapore—the homebase of Rio Olympics gold medalist Joseph Schooling —four times since 2013. It was also declared Team Champion in Hong Kong.
And for Henson’s enlightenment, the PSL did not receive any funding from the government while bringing honor to our country.
Henson might have forgotten, that as the emcee during the last Philippine Sportswriter Association awards night, he introduced our PSL swimmers to the audience.