PALARONG Pambansa is a highlight of one’s sports career. It brings immense sense of fulfillment to your craft whether as an athlete or as a coach. Reaching this level of competition in itself is already a great achievement.
After besting the line meets, DCAA and Davraa, this representation to the Palarong Pambansa is a testament to be the best in the region with a chance to compete against the best from the entire archipelago.
On Saturday, April 27, the Palarong Pambansa will open in Davao City and several delegations have already set up quarters in various public schools. These delegates travelled all the way from their places of origin to Davao City for the chance to represent and compete much like everybody else.
For the longest time, National Capital Region (NCR) has held on to the overall championship with Calabarzon and Western Visayas rounding up the top three regional athletic associations in the country to date. These regions are also where most of sports talents from the other parts of the Philippines end up with after being recruited to play for schools from the regions.
Nothing is wrong with providing grassroots athletes the opportunity to develop and showcase their talents as a school’s recruit. Several of them became big-name athletes in the collegiate ranks and made good impressions in the pro leagues as well. They might not have made it to where they are now if they stayed on and played regionally.
Unfortunately, this recruitment program has become a double-edged sword. While it provides for opportunities, it also deprives local talents to shine. The recruits are given the chances that could have been accorded local talents.
Almost the same dilemma between private and public school representations. With the private schools dominating the lower tier competitions on their way to the Palarong Pambansa, only a handful of student-athletes from the public schools are able to participate.
There is still so much to be desired for to make the Palarong Pambansa a truly inclusive sports program. And if everyone adheres to sports as an avenue for inclusivity, we need to look into these and at least try to provide for a genuine, inclusive Palarong Pambansa where there are real and equal opportunities to represent one’s region and school. It must be more than a showcase of regional talents but of athletes ready to take on global challenges proudly playing for flag and country, representing the three stars and a sun.