By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) has confirmed that the City of Marikina will be the host of the 2020 Palarong Pambansa after Occidental Mindoro had to beg off from hosting the annual sporting event for student-athletes because of the devastation wrought by typhoon “Tisoy” last month.
“Marikina City is the new host for the 2020 Palarong Pambansa,” said DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua in a Facebook post.
Marikina, Pascua said, was “recently named the new host for the event after Occidental Mindoro’s disaster risk management office recommended its withdrawal to host the games following the destruction in the province brought about by “Tisoy”.
He added that “this will be the first time Marikina City will be hosting the Palarong Pambansa.”
Last May, DepEd has officially announced Occidental Mindoro and Negros Occidental as hosts of the 2020 and 2021 Palarong Pambansa, respectively. Marikina City was among the local government units which submitted proposal for hosting the event.
Under Palarong Pambansa Resolution No. 2019-002, the Board adopted the policies on determining the selection of the venue or the host LGU, as stipulated in Republic Act No. 10588, three years in advance “in order to give sufficient time for the winning host to prepare for its playing facilities and billeting quarters, and allocate funds in its annual budget appropriation.” However, due to the damages sustained by Occidental Mindoro, the hosting of the annual sports event was given to Marikina City.
DepEd noted that the hosting of the Palarong Pambansa is determined by “bidding” and guided by the principle of the “Luzon-Visayas-Luzon-Mindanao” rotation or cycle. Members of the Palaro Board evaluate the bids based on the sports venues (40 percent), billeting area (30 percent), and additional consideration (30 percent) including peace and order/conducive conduct of the Palaro; opportunity to promote and showcase LGUs’ socio-economic and cultural uniqueness; and the capability and willingness of LGUs to renovate or upgrade sports facilities and billeting areas.
The Palaro is considered as the “flagship sports program” of the DepEd. The annual event gathers thousands of student-athletes and coaches from all regions nationwide. Also known as the “National Games,” the Palarong Pambansa was initially called “Bureau of Public Schools-Interscholastic Athletics Association Games (BPISAA)” and staged the first national competition was in Manila in 1948. In 1974, the BPISAA was renamed “Palarong Pambansa.”
Since then, the Palaro has been considered as “highest sports event” for learner-athletes with students from both public and private schools participating in various categories. DepEd said that the “Palaro” is also considered as culmination of year-long competitions since student-athletes from elementary and high schools nationwide compete in various levels to represent their region in the national competition.
In 2013, the Republic Act No. 10588 or the Palarong “Pambansa Act” was signed into law which institutionalized the national competition and assigned the annual event as the “primary venue for providing in-school sports opportunities to improve the physical, intellectual and social well-being of the youth.”
The 2019 Palarong Pambansa was hosted by Davao City in April wherein DepEd introduced on “Larong Pinoy” and the “Sports Heroes Day” as new highlights of the Palaro noting that these “two exciting events that speak of our commitment and loyalty to our culture that reflects our soul and unites our people.” In 2018, the Palaro was hosted by Ilocos Sur and participated in by around 15,000 participants from all the regions of the country. Antique hosted it in 2017, Albay in 2016 and Davao in 2015.