Thursday August 16, 2018

Editorial: High expectations

DELEGATES of the recently-concluded Palarong Pambansa 2018 in Ilocos Sur have high expectations on Davao City's hosting of the Palarong Pambansa 2019.

Davao City, being a highly-urbanized city, has world-class tourist spots, sufficient hotels, inns and pension houses to accommodate thousands of delegates although most of the athletes, coaches and chaperones will be staying at public schools that will serve as their billeting quarters.

The city has a very wide variety of affordable restaurants where waiting time of food orders will not be as long as some have experienced in Ilocos Sur.

Imagine, ordering a late dinner in a restaurant and the cashier, who also takes the orders, will ask you if you can wait one or two hours for your dinner to be served? That's what happened in the recently-concluded Palaro where delegates and tourists who prefer eating out would have to wait longer than the usual waiting time of 15 to 20 minutes.

This early, Palaro 2019 organizers should start conducting an inventory of room accommodations and get a list of partner hotels and restaurants as they are the frontliners of the Palaro 2019. Expect bookings for room accommodations to start third quarter of this year.

We hope though that all stakeholders in sports tourism will be ready for the Palaro hosting - from the security and emergency concerns, beautification, hospitality, playing venues, billeting quarters including the water supply and 24-hour electricity for the entire duration, secretariat and media center.

The expectations are high. A Manila-based sports scribe even said that Davao del Norte's Palarong Pambansa hosting in 2015 is the "benchmark" of all Palaro hostings, except from the black bugs, of course.

Why Davao del Norte? The sports scribe said it has a sprawling sports complex that can house a handful of events already. The media center was spacious and internet connection was good. The playing venues and billeting centers are accessible.

Davao City, meanwhile, has yet to see the completion of the Davao City-UP Sports Complex. However, we have a lot of accessible schools that can be used as billeting quarters. We, too, have malls and conventions centers that can be used as playing venues along with a handful of college gyms.

Yet, if we consider the media center put up in the last Davraa Meet that the city hosted, it is below par. A media center, for one, should be located at the sports complex where the games results committee and the secretariat are located. It needs a huge space to accommodate some 100 to 200 covering media practitioners from all over the country. Free internet access is very important. Providing computer units would be a plus. We recommend that the city government partner with a computer college for technical support and providing internet-connected computer units, like STI in Ilocos Sur and Davao del Norte, and wi-fi connection with a telecommunications company.

The expectations are high. The Davao Region Athletic Association (Davraa) must plan this early how to improve training preparations to better the overall ranking next year. As host, we could not just settle for a ninth place like we did in Ilocos Sur.

If DepEd budget could only allow a two-week training, how about partnering with the private sector to shoulder training expenses for another two weeks. Figuring in the top five may be ambitious, but then again, as host, we have everything to our advantage.