(First of two parts)
I am writing this article for the swimming community to disperse the truth for the truth will set them free from the hands of unrighteousness.
I must admit several years before that there is only one national sports association (NSA) for swimming in the country, which is the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA), now called Philippine Swimming, Inc. (PSI).
But problems occurred in running PASA because of exclusive membership, the payment of membership fees for swimmers, coaches and teams, and the absence of long-term development programs. These are among the many reasons why we are not winning medals in swimming in the Asian Games.
With the goal of democratizing swimming, we created the Philippine Swimming League (PSL) in 2010 —an association open to all with no membership fees to be collected.
During my time as a swimmer, in the early 1960’s up to the late 1970’s, our association president then was Col. Arsenio de Borja. He became the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation, now the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
Members of the swimming national team during those times are coming from grassroots, mostly from Mindanao, the likes of Amman Jalmaani, Leroy Goff, Jairulla Jaitulla, Bana Sallani, Dae Imlani and many others.
They are the ones that brought honors to our country by winning medals in the Asian Games.
As said in my previous article, in 1986, PASA was incorporated in Securities and Exchange Commission by Mark Joseph, Pinky Brosas, Ral Rosario and two others.
It was also then that we stopped winning in Asian Games, a meet where more than 40 Asian countries regularly participate.
From 1954 to 1982, the Philippines has won 82 medals.
Since Joseph incorporated PASA in 1986, no medals had been won except for a bronze medal by US-based swimmer Ryan Papa in the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games.
During the 1960s to 1970s, there was no Southeast Asian Games yet otherwise we could have won loads of gold medals. During early 1970s, the grassroots were exposed to Asian Age Group tournaments, and the likes of Edwin Borja, Grace Luna, Nancy Deano, Maria Luz Arzaga and many others shone most of them gold medal winners.
However, to this present time, I do not see gold medal winners and hardly see participants at the very least winners in Asean Age Group meets.
Considering that the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is funding the office, utilities and training of PASA/PSI, it must open its tryouts to everyone, particularly the deserving athletes.
The PSC failed to implement its objective, which is “to provide leadership, formulate the policies and set the priorities and direction of all national amateur sports promotion and development, particularly giving emphasis on grassroots participation.”
The PSC’s visitorial, supervisory and disciplinary powers were completely absent over PSI. PSC continues to tolerate the way swimming is being run though it is fully aware of the issues regarding membership and the tryouts not being open to all.
The PSC failed to adopt its powers under Section 3 of Rule IV – “suspend the grant of financial assistance and other privileges to an NSA with intra-corporate conflict and/or suspended by the POC.”
“Suspend the grant of financial assistance, monthly allowances and meal subsidies to non-performing athletes and coaches and to those which does not meet the criteria and observe the guidelines set forth by the Commission.”
“Monitor and supervise activities, events and competitions conducted by the national sports associations and by other organizations that are funded by the Commission.”
The truth must prevail and all swimmers in the Philippines must be able to participate in swimming competition without fear.
The PASA/PSI presently, is running the association exclusively under POC.
Two prestigious international competitions, which PSI attends, are the quadrennial Asian Games and the Olympics. PSI’s participation is endorsed by POC.
The PSL attends to the World University Games (Universiade), which is every two years. During an Asian Games year, there is an upcoming Universiade. And during an Olympic year, there is also an upcoming Universiade.
That the PSI and the PSL are two separate associations both affiliated to international association, PSI is under the POC and the PSL under the Federation of School
Sports Association of the Philippines (FESSAP). The FESSAP is an internationally affiliated member of Federation of International Sports University (FISU).
It is significant to state that the PSI must open its tryouts to all legitimate Filipino swimmers since the government is funding it.
(End of Part 1)