DepEd is late for class

Last Sunday, I wrote about the Palarong Pambansa. I posed the question: Why did they give the first-time hosts — the Province of Antique — only five months to prepare? This April 23, the Palaro will gather 12,000 high school and elementary athletes in one venue. Why was Antique only informed last Nov. 18 that they’d be hosting the country’s largest sports meet? Five short months to prepare the venues, including the new rubberized track oval (which is still being worked-on); the billeting, the transportation, the food…

It turns out, this practice is not only being practiced this 2017. Last year in Albay, when the Palaro was held in April, the hosts were told only six months earlier in October. The formal signing of the MOA was done in January, just three months prior to the gun start. In 2015, the same thing: with the event in Tagum, Davao del Norte (May 3 to 9), they were informed in Dec. 15 — just over four months to prepare. And in 2014, the announcement was made in Oct. 2013 for Laguna to host the games starting May 10, 2014.

“The Palaro is held in April or May,” said Mars G. Alison, a good friend and fellow sportswriter who writes for Rappler. “Maybe DepEd should already be able to make a decision on who will be the next host on the last day of the Palaro for early preparation.”

I agree with Mars. The Department of Education (DepEd) is the lead government agency that handles the Palaro. They have a Selection Committee who gathers to evaluate the various bids. Whether this committee decides six months prior — or two years earlier — it’s the same selection process. Why not decide earlier?

“They (DepEd) should be proactive because the Palaro is their pinnacle event,” added Ms. Alison. “It is a competition among the best of the best student athletes from all the regions. I mean, let’s say they make the host announcement in May, so by June, they can already accept bids for the next host and do inspections and then by the next Palaro, make the announcement. It should be that early if they want to give a chance for small provinces to host. It entails a lot of preparation. Besides, there’s already a pattern as the hosting rotates from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.”

Consider San Jose, Antique, the hosts for the Palaro which will start in 17 days. With a population of 35,000, they’re not as large as, say, their Panay neighbors like Kalibo, Iloilo or Roxas.

“I think the problem in Antique will be the billeting,” said Mars Alison, who will be making her fourth Palaro trip later this month. “They are expecting 12,000 delegates from 18 regions. I don’t know if all delegations will be accommodated in schools. There were talks about a tent city. Right now, the temperature is unbearable so I am not sure if this is a good idea.. And, what about the parents? Even the media right now is being referred to home stays. And, how about their water supply? I mean, during the Palaro days, the number of people using water will double. This is a problem that has happened in the past Palaro.”

Coming soon: reply from DepEd.

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