Palarong Pambansa: It’s History and Beyond

A.       History. Palarong Pambansa is an annual sports event first held in 1948 under the auspices of the Department of Education (DepEd).  It was first called the Bureau of Public Schools Interscholastic Athletic Association Meet (BPSIAA) or National Sports Meet, and has been held annually since that year, except in 1957 because of the death of President Magsaysay, and in 1972, due to Martial Law.  In 1974, the BPSIAA was renamed Palarong Pambansa, and thereafter, variations thereof, such as Palarong Bagong Lipunan in 1980 and Palarong Pilipino Gintong Alay in 1984. The name Palarong Pambansa, as it is presently referred to, was used again starting in 1988.

B.       Sports Events. Previously, there are 16 sports events for the elementary division and 17 sports events for secondary division. These sports events include Archery, Arnis, Athletics, Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Boxing, Chess, Football, Gymnastics, Sepak Takraw, Sipa Takraw, Softball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, and Volleyball. But this year’s Palaro, three new sports events will be added: wushu and billiards for secondary division and futsal for elementary division.

 C.       Venue. The host and venue for the annual event is rotated among major island groups (Luzon-Visayas-Luzon-Mindanao). Local governments bid to host the event and are selected based on their capability to accommodate a large number of student athletes and others participating in the event.

D.       Contribution to National Sports. The event is considered as the country’s premier sports event for pupils and students nationwide.  It not only hones the participants’ skills and sportsmanship for local competitions but has become a source of potential athletes for international competitions. In fact, many successful athletes were Palarong Pambansa participants, such as: Lydia de Vega and Elma Muros (athletics); Dyan Castillejo (tennis); Danny Ildefonso, Samboy Lim, Marlou Aquino and Kirby Raymundo (basketball); Susan Papa, Eric Buhain and Enchong Dee (swimming); and Chiefy Caligdong and Kristopher Camcam of Azkals (football).

E.       Support from the PSC. The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is mandated to ensure that amateur sports promotion and development are integrated and planned. Thus, the PSC instituted an agreement with DepEd in 2011 aimed at ensuring that the event is conducted optimally through the sharing of equipment, coaches/athletes training, and rationalized sports events scheduling (i.e., unified calendar of school sports and PSC activities for training and competitions; maintenance of mobile van of sports equipment).

II.       The 2013 Palarong Pambansa

A.       Participants and Host. The event will be attended by around 10,000 participants from all 17 Regions, composed of student athletes, teachers and trainors, as well as DepEd officials and others from government. The Province of Negros Oriental will host the event.

This is the first time the Province of Negros Oriental will be hosting the national sports event.

B.       Funding. The DepEd allocated around P205.4 million for the event, P68.8 million of which was downloaded to DepEd offices for the Regional and Division meets. Some P136.5 million was allocated for the national games, including P4.5 million for the procurement of sports equipment.

C.       Winners and Prizes. Winning athletes will be awarded trophies and medals. The DepEd and the LGU of Pangasinan are trying to get sponsors to give additional prizes, whether in cash or in kind.

III.      PSC’s 2011-2016 Philippine Sports Roadmap. To achieve the objectives of the Roadmap for 2012-2016, which serves as the overall framework for the country’s sports development program that stresses on access, governance and excellence, the following programs are being pursued by the `PSC:

A.       Pursuit of a “focus sports policy” (sports prioritized for development) that employs a performance-based funding scheme for sports associations towards sports excellence and grassroots development.  These 10 focus sports are boxing, taekwondo, athletics, swimming, wushu, archery, wrestling, bowling, weightlifting, and, billiards.  About P199 million or 33% of the 2012 projected annual remittances under the National Sports Development Fund (P600 million) will be dedicated for the promotion and development of these sports.

B.       The Philippine National Games as a national try-out for aspiring grassroots athletes to become national athletes and play for the Philippine team. National competition was held in May 2012 at Dumaguete City;

C.       Empowerment of Inmates and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).  Almost P5 million worth of financial assistance was provided to PWDs to sustain their participation in various sports events. Meanwhile, around 8,000 inmates at various penitentiary facilities have been undergoing a regular fitness regimen through aerobics exercise and basic boxing skills training;

D.       Relaunching of Batang Pinoy in 2011. The program, which was shelved in 2003, is a national sports development program for children centered on values formation, which is inherent in sports and play.

IV.     Other Sports Development Efforts of the DepEd. Aside from the Palarong Pambansa, the DepEd also implements other programs and endeavors in line with the objectives of the PSC’s 2012-2016 Philippine Sports Roadmap. These are as follows:

A.       Inclusion of Physical Education (PE) in their Materials Development Program through the production and distribution of audio and video tapes;

B.       Provision of trainings and scholarships to PE teachers, coaches, officiating officials, trainers and clinicians; and,

C.       Participation in various sports competition, such as the ASEAN School Sports Council/Asian School Sports Federation and other international schools activities.


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