With regard to Philippine Swimming Incorporated (PSI) coaches recruiting swimmers mentioned in my last article, I have received a lot of private texts, email messages and calls.
Let it be clear to the swimming community that there’s no way that the Philippine Swimming League (PSL) would like to replace PSI and is interested in being the National Sports Association (NSA) under the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) nor I would like to be the president of the PSI.
Definitely it’s thanks but no thanks!
We do not want to inherit any of PSI’s cases of corruption that are now under the Ombudsman and its many other legal problems both criminal and civil.
All PSL wants is for the PSI to run its organization properly particularly to make the selection of national team members open to everyone. We want to make swimming a sports-for-all and that swimming be democratized.
There’s one swimmer whom I’ve taught how to swim at the age of seven under the learn to swim program of PSL. He has experienced international competitions in Singapore and Thailand and still clocking good times with the PSL. His name is Inaki “Aki” Lorbes. At the age of 14, De La Salle-Zobel recruited him. But now, he was prohibited and restricted to join PSL competitions due to the contract he signed according to her godmother Joan Mojdeh as told to her by Lorbes.
Another was Jasmine Mojdeh. At the age of nine, she was also recruited. As narrated by her mother Joan, while watching the 78th University Athletic Association of the Philippines swimming competition, Angelo Lozada approached Jasmine putting his arm on her shoulder and told her, “ Ano event mo? butterfly, dito ka na lang sa amin sa La Salle-Zobel may scholarship.”
After so much talking when Lozada left, Jasmine asked her mother, “Doon ba si kuya Aki? And her mother answered, “Yes, pero binawalan sila lumaban sa PSL.”
Jasmine said, “Ayoko doon mommy, ayoko doon.”
As they are narrating it to me, I told Jasmine that the next time she will be recruited again by Lozada, just to politely answer him, “Sir, leave me alone. I am happy where I am and it’s more fun in PSL.”
I actually see no problem with PSL swimmers being recruited and offered scholarship. In fact, I am delighted that prominent schools recruit swimmers coming from PSL, which means our grassroots development program works and produces good swimmers being recruited by such schools through PSI coaches.
The main problem is that these swimmers are encountering unreasonable restrictions. Prohibitions that once they are recruited by certain school, became a member of a team and coached by PSI, these PSL swimmers recruited are now prohibited to swim in any PSL competitions, thus depriving them of opportunities and growth.
Under the Constitution of the Philippines, Bill of rights Article III Section I “No person shall be deprived of Life, Liberty or property with due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of law.”
Therefore, swimmers need not be afraid to swim in PSL competitions; they must not be deprived of liberty to swim in any contest, which is not against the law.
Another swimmer was Raphael Lentejas 3rd of Ateneo de Manila University. He is now given scholarship by the school. He was one of the medalists in the Midget Asean Meet held in Singapore.
According to his personal coach Ariel Compas, that’s the reason he was not able to participate in recent PSL competitions.
Other swimmers that was trained by and exposed to international competitions by PSL but are no longer swimming in PSL events are Raphael Barretto (All Nations Singapore 2011 and last competition September 2013 in Laguna), Maurice Sacho Ilustre (Stingray Hongkong May 2013, last competed on January 2014 in Rizal Memorial-The Manila Times Competition), Yuri Ilustre (RSBC Bangkok November 2013, last competed on January 2014 in Rizal Memorial-The Manila Times Competition), Priscila Aquino (Arafura Games Australia May 2011, last competed on June 2014 in Rizal Memorial—the Sen. Nikki Coseteng Swimming Cup).
If ever they can’t make it to Olympics 2016, will PSI allow them to tryout for the 2017 World Universiade Games? If ever they are illegible?
The truth must prevail, and I am taught to never ever surrender to injustice and to always defend the truth.
PSL is happy being the National Sports Association for swimming under FESSAP (Federation of Schools Sports Association of the Philippines) that is affiliated to FISU (Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire).