The predictable Palaro
Kudos to officials in my neck of the woods, the heritage province of Ilocos Sur for hosting the Palarong Pambansa.
The 61st edition of the national games for primary and high school sports standouts from April 15 to 21 in Vigan, the provincial capital, is a study of symbiosis by the local government and the national Department of Education.
For the monumental feat of billeting 15,000 athletes and officials and preparing the competition venues for the DepEd’s flagship summer sports festival, Ilocos Sur’s economy will get a hefty boost from visitors.
The Palaro is replete with stories about sports as a metaphor for life and the breeding ground for future national leaders. But the outcome of the overall championship is decided even before the first starting gun is fired.
Barring the unforeseen, the National Capital Region (NCR) will again take the championship trophy as it has done in the last 12 years. Disparity with the other 17 competing regions is what makes NCR tick.
With ample training facilities and unlimited money at their disposal, they could easily entice talent from other regions to fight their sports battles ahead. That is why it’s been next to impossible to make a dent in NCR’s overall supremacy to the tune of 106.3 medals average since 2012.
Despite its flaws, the Palaro gets the support of Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chair William Ramirez.
Ramirez says the annual summer sports spectacle could be a fertile feeder to the national pool of athletes while his agency continues to discover uncut diamonds aggressively in the grassroots.
The PSC honcho is currently preoccupied with the Asian Games in mid-August to early September this year in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang, and the Southeast Asian Games the Philippines will host next year.
Ramirez said the Duterte administration would spend between P800 million to P1 billion to stage the SEA Games, build new sports facilities while rehabilitating existing ones.
“I am positive that the SEAG 2019 hosting will give PH the [overall] championship in the region,” he stressed.
That’s a surprising statement from Ramirez since he knows too well that we have failed miserably in the biennial meet since we won the overall trophy as hosts in 2005.
Even the new leadership of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) appears to adopt a soft stance on the SEA Games whose standards are inferior to the Asiad’s.
Ed Picson said his boss, POC president Ricky Vargas “sees no conflict sending athletes to the SEA Games and having them participate in other international competitions and training camps to hone their craft.”
“The public, both here and in the rest of our region, look to the SEA Games with anticipation,” said Picson, POC’s communications director. While competition there may not be as high as that of the Asian Games, we still need to test ourselves at that level.”
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