‘Palarong Pambansa is an anomaly’ | Inquirer Sports
Bare Eye

‘Palarong Pambansa is an anomaly’

/ 01:04 AM April 09, 2015

Dr. Aparicio Mequi, a respected sports development expert, has sought the help of the Inquirer to share with the public what he says is a long-overlooked anomaly in the Palarong Pambansa. Here he is:

May I interest you and seek your support for a campaign to correct another anomaly in Philippine children and youth sports.

In May 27, 2014, President Aquino signed  into law R.A. 10582 institutionalizing the annual “school” games known as the Palarong Pambansa. I enclosed in quotation marks the word school because in reality, the Palaro is a “private inter-club” contest and not by all means a “public Interscholastic sports” competition.
There’s sufficient empirical evidence to support this view based on the fact that most participants and winners in the Palaro are not trained by DepEd school coaches inside public school campuses, utilizing public school athletic facilities, equipment, supplies and the wherewithals necessary to prepare public school children and youth to take part in the Palarong Pambansa. This is the sad reality that’s operative in the conduct of the Palaro.
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What public school in the country has the manpower and athletic resources to prepare public school athletes for the sports of archery, badminton, baseball, billiards, boxing, gymnastics, swimming, tennis, taekwondo, wrestling and wushu? These are eleven of the 21 sports in the Palaro calendar of events, sports which require expensive equipment or are played inside gymnasiums which most public schools do not have. Thus, athletes in these events are trained in private sports clubs which is contrary to the pyramidal scheme for school sports development.
In this scheme, the base of the pyramid is physical education classes where basic skills,  knowledge, and values in sports are taught. Those who are skillful compete in school intramurals. The best among the intramural players are selected to compete in the district meet, wherein another selection process determines those who go up to the division level, then to the regional competition. The best in the regional meet are chosen to represent the region at the apex of the pyramid: the Palarong Pambansa.
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But in the selection process, most of the players selected are pupils studying in private schools with sports facilities or members of sports clubs. Another advantage  that private school students have is their participation in existing leagues, where in the case of Metro Manila, these are the NCAA and UAAP. It’s no wonder therefore that the perennial champion in the Palaro is the National Capital Region (NCR).

In summary, it’s a fact that the Palarong Pambansa, funded by public funds in the millions of pesos, caters to private school athletes depriving the poorer children in public schools of opportunities to engage in sports which violates Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child prescribing what is known as “the forgotten right of children”–the right to play.


The members of the Palaro Board created by RA 10582, chaired by Secretary Armin Luistro, should consider revisiting, if there’s any, the vision, mission, goals and objectives of the Palarong Pambansa and initiate reforms to correct what is clearly an anomaly in Philippine children and youth sports.

The forthcoming Palaro, to be hosted by Tagum City next month, on May 3-9, 2015, is an opportunity for the board to test the validity of this point of view posited by devoted scholar of sports.

Aparicio H. Mequi, Ph. D.
Director, Institute of Youth Sports for Peace (IYSPeace)
Foundation University
Dumaguete City

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TAGS: Palarong Pambansa, President Aquino, Sports

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