“To all sepak takraw enthusiasts, we are now facing danger this coming Palarong Pambansa…They signed a MOA that PSC and NSAs will be the one to run the Palaro. If this will happen, please let us not support this anomaly. Remember that per EO No. 433 transferring the Palaro (from the PSC) to the DepEd is legal…If this will happen, I am calling on Division supervisors that we will not participate.”
That was a text message I received Sept. 22 from a leading sepak takraw official who has been involved with the sport since it was first played in the Philippines in the early 80s. I ignored it for reasons I wrote about in this column in January.
Then on Oct. 11, I received a text message from a high official of the DepEd Task Force on School Sports responsible for the management of the annual school games, about rumors that indeed, a MOA was signed betweens PSC and DepEd, transferring management of the Palaro to the former. The same school sport official informed me that the TFSS will be abolished and that a new set of officials will be appointed to oversee school sports.
In my January 2011 column, I said: “One of the unfortunately issuances of then President Estrada was E.O 81 he signed on March 5, 1999, transferring management of the Palarong Pambansa from the Department of Education to the Philippine Sports Commission.
“In the company of less than a dozen teachers who shared my sentiments, I marched and demonstrated in Mendiola objecting to the issuance of the EO. For some five years, I kept up the campaign by wearing a black t-shirt with the message: ‘Ibalik ang Palaro sa DepEd,’ whenever there were occasions I thought appropriate to demonstrate, such as the Palarong Pambansa in Naga City in 2004.
“In 2005, then President Macapagal-Arroyo through EO 443, ordered back the management of the Palaro to the education department for reasons which can be gleaned from this exchange of emails between me and PSC chairman Richie Garcia.”
For lack of space, I will summarize the exchanged of emails, dated Jan. 11, 2011 between me and chairman Garcia: I informed him that the “PSC does not have the field personnel to undertake the implementation of the various multi-level implementation of the components of the Palaro: school intramurals, district, division and regional meets. You only see the national Palaro but fail to see the lower level components. As the DepEd people say: ‘Kami na nag namunla, nagtanim, nagani, nagbayo, nagsaing, naglatad ng pagkain para kumain lang ang PSC?’”
An excerpt from chairman Garcia’s response: “I am with you regarding the Palaro. It is too big for PSC to handle. I am not for it, and will not ask for it. I was a commissioner at the time it was given to PSC, and I honestly think it was a mess. If it is mandated that the Palaro will be given to us, we will just have to do our best and try to make the best Palaro. You are right about the Palaro that it is not just the games. It is the training in schools and the regional, and everything that makes the Palaro…Thank you for the advice on this. We will just do our job and work on what is good for our athletes and what is good for Philippine sports.”
With this sentiment of Garcia regarding the PSC taking over the Palaro, I thought that any move to the contrary would not prosper, until I received the rumored take over. To check on the veracity of these rumors, I emailed Garcia last Tuesday:“I am forwarding to you a couple of emails exchanged between us 10 months ago. Interesting what can take place within a short span of 10 months. Ok, since the take over of the Palarong Pambansa by PSC is a done deal, I understand a MOA was signed between PSC-DepEd last week, here is just one crucial concern: officiating of the games.
“Officiating of the games is where you will most likely encounter some ill-feelings on the part of the DepEd people. The DepEd people assigned to officiate in the lower level eliminations are NSA-accredited, want to officiate. Why? It’s their chance to a) travel away from home, just like NSA officials in times of international games; b) upgrade their professional status, since officiating in the national Palaro is considered (by the provincianos) as a special upgrading of status; c) officiating gets some perks especially jackets emblazoned with the words PALARONG PAMBANSA MARIKINA 2012. It’s all a matter of personal and professional pride. Also, these DepEd technical officials don’t mind how much they are paid for officiating, something that you won’t find among NSA tech people.
For NSA techs, the amount of remuneration received is their criterion for status, and what they expect to receive for every officiating chore. In other words, the DepEd and NSA tech have different norms for determining status.
This caused in the past a problem when the national Palaro was staged in Naga City. The NSAs officiated the preliminary rounds but refused to do this in the final rounds unless the pay was increased…Anyway, I am just sharing my thoughts as the ever and forever pakialamero in sports for whatever it is worth.”
I received this response the following day: “It is not really true that PSC is taking over Palarong Pambansa. What is happening is that (Education) Usec Umali reorganized the Palaro. He changed the committee that was running the Palaro to a new one and we are part of the committee. They have been very cooperative and open to ideas as to how the games will be managed and who will do the officiating of the games. We have done a lot up to this point, and Commissionr Jolly is the one in charge with the people in DepEd. I think we will be able to change a lot of things in the coming Palaro. We will be needing all the help from all sectors and I hope you can help us, too.”
All these don’t answer the question: Is the Palaro back under the management of the PSC?