Failon Ngayon: Palarong Pambansa
Since its inception in 1948 under the name Bureau of Public Schools Inter-Scholastics Athletic Association Meet, the Palarong Pambansa has already produced some of the country’s most popular athletes.
Some of the most notable products of the Palarong Pambansa are Elma Muros and Lydia de Vega, who have excelled in athletics; Akiko Thompson and Enchong Dee, who are known for their talents in swimming; Danny Ildefonso and Samboy Lim, legends in the Philippine Basketball Association; tennis player and sports enthusiast Dyan Castillejo; and Azkals members Chiefy Caligdong and Christopher Camcam.
Filipinos take pride in their athletes and a lot of the country’s youth aspire to follow in their footsteps in order to make the Philippines proud as well. Unfortunately, a lot of these youngsters’ dreams do not come true because of the lack of government support.
Every year, the Palarong Pambansa is held to encourage the youth to become healthy and physically fit. It also serves as a springboard and training ground for the country’s young athletes.
This year’s Palarong Pambansa features 7,000 student athletes. Unfortunately, they face obstacles that could possibly derail their dreams of being representatives of the country in their respective sports. The 2012 Palarong Pambansa was supposedly given a budget amounting to more or less P200 million. Has this been fulfilled, or will it remain an empty promise?
Most affected by this are the athletes involved in the games, most of whom are students from the provinces. A lot of these children can only depend on their respective sports in order to get scholarships.
Jeric Mercado has competed in the Palarong Pambansa twice already.
A baseball player from Bukidnon, Jeric believes that playing baseball is important because it is his ticket to an education. Unfortunately for Jeric, the equipment that his team uses are all donations and have been being used for around five years. They end up repairing their shoes and the balls that they use.
For Jonel Laroa, it doesn’t matter if his shoes are ruined, as long as he’s able to join the Palarong Pambansa. For the 13-year-old boxer from Leyte, finishing schooling is one of his goals, that’s why he makes do with his battered shoes that he borrowed from a friend.
Seemingly, 16-year-old Renz Enerio has had more to overcome. The volleyball team member from Cagayan de Oro just survived the wrath of Sendong. Unfortunately, his mother remains missing until now. Renz is hoping that volleyball will become his path to a better life and an education.
Omar Ladzikan is another aspiring athlete. The Sepak Takraw player from Maguindanao followed the advice of his principal and joined the Palarong Pambansa with hopes of attaining success.
Jeric, Jonel, Renz, and Omar are only a few of the country’s young aspiring athletes who seemingly have their dreams within reach, if it were not for the problems they face in every competition.
With the conclusion of this year’s Palarong Pambansa, the Department of Education has united with the National Sports Association, the Philippine Sports Commission, and the Philippine Olympic Committee to respond to the government’s promise of support for the country’s upcoming and established athletes.
Until these promises come to fruition, the only thing that our athletes can do is hope.