DepEd’s Borgonia: Please explain the rules

My daughter Jana, who is 12 years old and in Grade 6, competed in the Cebu City Olympics last October. Her sport was tennis. Among the many who swung backhands and volleys, she finished second. She’d represent Cebu City in the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (Cviraa) meet. That came last November when, together with her grandparents Jack and Malu Mendez, we traveled to Dumaguete City for five days. Out of the dozens of elementary girls from Bohol, Tuburan, Dumaguete, Mandaue and more, Jana reached the finals. She lost to Zethley Mae Alferez of Naga. But, by claiming second place, she would represent Region VII. She qualified for the Palaro.

Or so we thought. Because, days after, an announcement was broadcasted: Palarong Pambansa selection was unfinished! What? We were confused.

Fast forward to today—Feb. 6—and still, no final list has been announced. I’m glad Cebu City Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young voiced out his sentiments. Last Thursday, in an article penned by ace writer Marian Baring, VM Young said: “I am very much disappointed. We had targeted to improve the region’s finish in the Palarong Pambansa but the DepEd has decided to choose another path and this is throwing the plan off…  It defeats the purpose of holding the regional meet earlier. Mao ra gihapon mura ra ta nag Cviraa og February because until now, we do not have the final list of athletes and it’s already February.”

I have spoken to parents, coaches and even several DepEd officials about this and they, too, are confused. Ruel Dihiansan, my close buddy from the Rotary Club of Cebu West, called me to complain. His daughter, Janel, is one of the best badminton players in this island. Janel qualified for the Palaro. Unfortunately, she was asked to join another “elimination tournament.” But, as Ruel explained, that weekend coincided with Janel’s Juniors-Seniors Prom.

“What if Janel loses?” Ruel asked. Does this mean she’ll no longer go to the Palaro? What use was the Cvriaa? Is this small-time elimination event more important than the regional sports meet?

In another example, a champion gymnast who won in the Cviraa was stricken with fever during the day of the eliminations. He could not join. Does this mean he’s no longer part of the Team Region VII?

Three weeks ago, I sought clarification. Two times, I called the office of Dept. of Education Regional Director Recaredo “Ric” Borgonia. He was in Manila. I left my number and requested for a return call. I mentioned that I was a concerned Cebuano: a parent, a Sun.Star writer, a member of the sports community. We never spoke. (Well, if Vice Mayor Joy Young himself asked to speak to the regional director and got snubbed, I’m not surprised he didn’t entertain my calls.)

Dr. Borgonia, whom I have yet to meet, I am sure, is a fine man. His reputation–as reinforced by Godofredo Roperos’ column last Friday: “I know that Ric is a careful planner himself and is a career executive service officer”–is positive. That is irrefutable.

But, as head of our athletes, he has to be more forthright and clear. He must answer this query: What use was the Cviraa? This supposed “performance evaluation”–postponed twice already (it was originally set two weekends ago)–is a subjective way of choosing athletes.

Sports—anywhere around the world—is successful because of its objectivity. In running, whoever crosses that finish line first wins the gold. In the NBA or PBA or any “liga-liga,” whoever scores more points when the final whistle is blown, wins. In chess, whoever is “check-mated,” loses; in football, the team with more goals wins. Simple. Erasing this objectivity—and replace it with a subjective way of choosing—robs the sport. It’s unfair. It makes the Cviraa useless.

With only 93 days left before Dapitan City lights the torch opening the Palaro, I hope, on this matter, for one thing from the Department of Education: educate us.

John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!


  1. naa tingale sila manok nga gusto e apil…..

    labina if ang coach is a favorite teacher….aron maka adto ug palaro…..

  2. sayang lang ang cviraa sa dumaguete.we support your opinion. john pajes i am the mother of zethley mae alferez

  3. It boils down to money ang tinuod nga rason,, naa cguro budget nga gusto i justify… baga kau nawong..gibuguan nalang gyud sa mga parents.

  4. Ang mga coaches nga sanction sa deped dili ka ek kay mahadlok…..Its about time nga c Borgonia makamata nga dili dapat idamay ang mga bata esp tha players if naa cla personal interest… they dont bset a good example sa mga players, daun ang mawala ang essense sa sportsmanship nga isa sa mga core values sa sports development…..

  5. Naa cla mga manok gusto pasudlun…what na mga players nga losers, anak sa mga dagkong official sa gobyerno,, fair play lang unta…

  6. Wala nalang kwenta ang 10 days nga stay sa public schools bisag gibaha, ug way saktong tulganan…gasto ug hago sa mga Parents who were there through thick and thin… ang million nga gasto sa cebu city….whew.. tarunga gyud borgonia nga ma justify nimo ang gasto…

  7. I have the same sentiments sir. DepEd indeed should be objective. Top two finishers qualify? Gold medalists only? How about if Gold Medalists doesn’t fill up the roster? Is it really affected by budget concerns ? I believe DepEd encourages all region to fill up the roster and if possible join all events. My Daughter is a swimmer… to fill up the line up, the tournament manager held a 50 meter freestyle swim-off amongst the athletes who had no gold or silver. My daughter had a bronze medal, while the others didn’t because they were only alternates in the relay teams. My daughter lost because she was a long distance swimmer and a backstroke specialist. Please explain to me how the tournament manager came up with that idea??? Can you pit a long distance runner against a sprinter, at least he separated the boys from the girls. I believe we have athletes who lost all their events at the district level but amazingly went past the City Meet and the Regionals and now will represent us at the Palarong Pambansa because of those “small time elimination events”. Please DepEd, ,,, EDUCATE US!!!

  8. Daghan kaayo ang wala masayod sa tibuok storya aning final selection sa elementary girls tennis. Ang una jud ani, gi lawgaw ni Ma’am Bala (Cebu City Tennis Official) ang original schedule ug ang correct nga sequence sa duwa sa elementary girls dito sa Valencia ug daghan ang mga parents ang naka hibaw ani, labi na ang parents sa Team Naga City ug Team Cebu Province (nga ang player taga Tuburan). Ug ang ikaduha, paghuman sa CVIRAA Meet sa Dumaguete, gipatawag ni Dir. Borgonia ang tanang winning coaches ug Tournament Directors aron pagahisgutan ang plano sa region sa pagpili ug pinakalig – on nga players para sa Palaro – ug didto sa meeting miuyon ang tanan. Ug ang ikatulo, lakip sa pagabasihan sa ilang improvement sa training ay ang mga age group tournament nga ilusad hangtud sa pagsiabot sa petsa sa Palaro. Unsa mang hitabua nga ang Gold Medalist sa CVIRAA nga si Zethley Mae Alferez (Naga) ug ang Silver Medalist nga si Jana Pages (Cebu City) gipildi man ug hurot ni Allysa Mae Ceniza Bornia (Cebu Province – Tuburan) ug unya nag double entry pa jud ni si Bornia 12 under & 14 under iyang sa sakmit ang kampyonato sa duha ka kategoreya. Ug mao ni ang nakita tingali ni Dir. Borgonia nga ang pinakalig – on ang angay nga ipadala…….

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