Why? I’ve been asked that question a lot of late as to the reason or reasons for running once more for president of the PPSA. After all, having been at or close to the helm of leadership since its creation in 1982, wasn’t twenty-nine years of involvement enough? I most certainly thought so and that is WHY in 2011, after nearly three decades of service to this organization, I put on my retirement slippers, propped my feet up on a stool, sat back on my easy chair, and, with a cold glass of beer in hand, bid a fond farewell to my most beloved association.
I knew then that it was time for a new generation of younger, more energetic, motivated, and passionate leaders to take on the reigns and steer this organization in the right direction. I was confident that the, then, newly elected officers had what it took to oversee, manage, and nurture the sport towards a better future. I was ready to walk away, confident that the PPSA was in good hands, or so I thought.
A few quiet months passed when on or around the middle of 2012, as I was going around the country in a bid to run for the Senate, many of our fellow shooters began sharing their thoughts, and doubts, as to the direction the association was heading. Concerns surrounding safety, officiating of matches, equity of participation, the allocation of our meager resources, nepotism and, in some instances, the availability and use of funds were thrown into the conversations. I attributed all these to the growing pains and the process of adjusting to a new management style. Give them time, I counseled.
A few more months passed, and the same things were being brought up in countless conversations I was having all over the country as I was gearing up for my Senate run. I was fortunate to have the support, mostly moral, of many of our shooting brethren as I tiredly made the rounds of my sorties all over this beautiful country of ours. Again, I asked them to please give the present dispensation more time. There was clamor for me to be involved in the day-to-day running of the association. I politely declined and explained that time and circumstances would no longer allow me the opportunity as I was then preparing for elections of a different sort. Again, many more months passed and as the sting of an election defeat lapsed into a dull imperceptible ache I found myself once more in conversations about the PPSA, its direction, its future.
Part of the PPSA’s enduring success as it enters its fourth decade can be attributed to its openness and its willingness to accept one and all into the community of shooters. I remember the early days, when, as the association was but a small, ragtag group of like-minded individuals coming from various affiliations and orientations, there was a sense of purpose. This small group of about forty or so individuals whom I call “The Originals” knew, that in order to make this controversial shooting sport succeed given the uncertainties of martial rule, they had to band together and bring in people of all stripes to the cause. We may not have all been from the same “camp”, and we certainly all didn’t get along, but we all knew that in order to give the sport a chance, everyone and everyone’s participation had to be valued and respected. We fought hard against those who wanted to keep the PPSA “exclusive”. We didn’t allow one group to dominate and we most certainly didn’t cater to an elitist crowd. We opened our doors to everyone regardless of class, position, political affiliation, background, or status. All were welcome, and as it stands again today, all still are.
So it was with a great deal of trepidation and concern when I heard that in just two short years after letting go of the reigns of leadership things were not as they should be that I decided to revisit my non-involvement. It turned out, through the course of many long conversations, that all was not well with the PPSA. The grumblings grew louder with each succeeding talk about how one group was favored over the rest of the general membership.
In the nearly three decades that I was at the helm of this association prior to my retirement in 2011, no one family dominated or lorded it over the sport. No one group was favored, no individual given special treatment because of affiliation, connection, or proximity to leadership. No single business enterprise was given the lion’s share to the exclusion of the many who have supported this sport from the very beginning. I would like to think that those who rose in stature in our sport did so by their own dedication, abilities, honest effort, and perseverance. Perhaps some got away with a shenanigan or two, but, by and large, most were exposed and dealt with swiftly and accordingly.
Much had changed since 2011. While the sport survived, those most deserving of opportunity, recognition, and support found us unable to provide any. Instead, those close to the leadership, despite being undeserving, got most of what was available, perhaps more. That is a sad commentary of the state of affairs and it must be rectified immediately. Henceforth, no one will get a free pass. All of us must earn our keep.
The PPSA exists for you, the shooter. It is for those who save up the money and time, sometimes foregoing other simple pleasures in life just to be able to do that which we all love, to shoot. It doesn’t exist for the superstar competitor whose tight-fitting sublimated shirt is covered in sponsorship logos screaming for attention. It doesn’t exist for those wealthy enough to own their own gun company or business, or whose status in life is above that of the average man or woman. The PPSA does not exist for the well-to-do shooter who barks at everyone when he or she does not get his and her way at the matches or for the aging has-beens who constantly posts videos on Facebook and YouTube of their former glory. The PPSA doesn’t exist solely for those who occupy higher office or wear the uniform of peacekeepers. Rather, the association exists for the shooter who loves the sport and wants to continue participating in it long after his or her talents wane or reflexes falter. It exists for the range officers who give of their precious time and energy to ensure, most of the time unrecognized and unappreciated, that you have a safe day at the range. The PPSA exists so that those who still haven’t heard of the sport of practical shooting may one day be thankful of the organization’s endurance for its future participants. The PPSA exists so that one day a Filipino may be the IPSC World Champion, the highest achievement in our sport. I want the PPSA to be the organization it was conceived by many to be-- a community of shooters. That is why I ran.
PHILIPPINE PRACTICAL SHOOTING ASSOCIATION
Practical Shooting is the fastest growing shooting sport in the world to date. Combining the elements of Speed, Power, and Accuracy, it is a venue that seeks to develop and test an individual's shooting skills in a controlled sporting environment. Practical shooting matches are realistic, diverse and fun, mixing props such as barricades, doors, shooting ports, tunnels and other everyday objects with full or partially exposed targets, moving targets, penalty-carrying no-shoot targets and steel reactive targets to test the skills and techniques of the practical shooting competitor.
Practical shooting is done freestyle - there is no single method by which a shooting scenario may be engaged and individual competitors may have their own solution to the shooting problem at hand. Each competitor's resulting score is determined by the number of hits made on a given target, divided by the elapsed time needed to complete the scenario.