BELIEVING so much that the Private Schools Athletic Association (Prisaa) events are the training ground of the Philippines’ future great athletes, National Prisaa president Ma. Lita Montalban dedicated almost 10 years of her life serving the association for better training and better organization of the Davao City Prisaa, Southern Mindanao Prisaa and National Prisaa.
It was in 1984 when Montalban opened her own school, Emar Human and Environmental College (Ehec), which was named after her two sons Emmanuel and Arturo. Ehec first started as a Sunday school but eventually evolved as they also started offering technical vocational courses in 2005. It was only in 2009 that their school was invited to be a member of Davao City Prisaa and Southern Mindanao Prisaa.
As Mother Asunta David of the University of Immaculate Conception served as the association’s president in 2009, Montalban was the secretary. The unfortunate death of David the following year made Montalban the president of the Davao City Prisaa and Southern Minda.
She had been to Zamboanga and Bicol sending young athletes to compete with those from other regions in the country. But it was in 2014 during the 60th anniversary of Prisaa that she organized the national competition for the first time when it was agreed to be held in Tagum City. Being the first biggest event she led as the president, Montalban recalls how successful it had been and how grateful she was for Davao del Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario for his assistance.
“In six months, my team and I kept going back to Tagum City for all the preparations including security. Gov (del Rosario) taught us to handle national events. We were really trained by him and I learned a lot. That’s why I was very grateful,” Montalban shared.
With the thorough preparation and good partnership with the local government, Montalban was excited to share that the 60th Prisaa national competition was touted as the best hosting thus far. After that, many regions would decline to host the event as the National Prisaa Games held in Tagum City held high standards they thought they can’t beat.
Montalban had been to the Games hosted by Koronadal City, Iloilo City, Zambales and Bohol and learned a lot in organizing national athletic sports competition.
“What I learned in the past I will apply in Davao City’s hosting just like proper planning and proper coordination. There should also be support from the local government unit as well,” Montalban said.
Not only is she hands-on with the proper organization of the event, Montalban also makes sure that she has updates and proper coordination with the team, coaches, and the players.
When asked why she thinks sports is important to the youth, Montalban replied that it’s one of the best interventions available to steer the youth away from vices. She added sports keeps the kids busy and goal-oriented which would train them to become better individuals as well.
Currently, with the K-12 curriculum of the Department of Education, Montalban said they were able to lobby and get approval for the inclusion of senior high school players to the college division.
After years of service to Prisaa, Montalban still believes that sports helps a lot in molding the Filipino youth to become better citizens of the country.
“Deep in my heart, this is my legacy. This is something I want to leave with Prisaa,” she said.