Wake Up, Guys!

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That’s what I am shouting at and urging Paultom Paras and Ike Villaflores, Negros Oriental and Dumaguete City sports honchos, respectively, should do, lest like their predecessors, Buddy Ravello and Joe Guirit, they will miss the opportunity to make our locality host, for the FIRST time ever, the annual Palarong Pambansa 2013.

It’s still fresh in my memory how, in 2009, the late Gov. Dodo Macias, so ill-prepared and unfamiliar with the intricacies of bidding for the hosting of the Palaro, with just one staff member accompanying him, went to the DepEd in Metro Manila to submit the province’s bid, only to find himself competing with Tacloban City’s Mayor Jericho Petilla, accompanied by Leyte’s coterie of congressmen, the governor, municipal mayors, and armed with a joint-resolution of the Sanguniang Panlalawigan and Sanguniang Panglungsod supporting the bid, plus a PowerPoint presentation detailing the preparations to be undertaken to insure success of the school games. Among five other bidders, Negros Oriental ended forth in the bidding. The irony of it was that among all the bidders, Negros Oriental was the most prepared in terms of availability of athletic facilities. In fact, the chief of the Palaro technical committee revealed to me that “If the Palaro were to be held next week or next month, Negros Oriental would have readily won the right to host the games!”

I am 100% sure that if Negros Oriental will submit a bid for the 2013, it would, hands down, win. I bet P100. Any takers? Here are two facts in our favor:

1. Negros Occidental (Bacolod City) and Cebu (Mandaue City) are the two leading bidders who have already signified their desire to host the games as reported in the media. I wonder if Paras and Villaflores are aware of this and have already warned the Governor and Mayor that bids must be submitted in the months of August and September only. Negros (Bacolod) hosted the Palaro five times (1971, 1974, 1979, 1998, and 2000). Cebu, twice, in 1954 and forty years later in 1994. Negros Oriental, since 1948 when the games were still known as the Bureau of Public Schools Interscholastic Athletic Association Meet, never hosted the event. This fact will be a significant factor when the DepEd authorities will submit to the President their recommendation. The right to host for the first time is usually the strongest reason favoring a bidder.

2. Negros Oriental and Dumaguete City, have the distinction of hosting one-after-another, the Palarong Batang Pinoy and the Philippine National Games recently, a feat attesting to our capability to host national competitions. We have likewise hosted the Unigames and PRISAA on several instances in the past. This track record will be a plus factor in our favor.

Paultom Paras and Ike Villaflores should immediately undertake the following:

Get the Governor to write a letter to DepEd Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro informing him of the Province desire to host the Palarong Pambansa.

Convene the Provincial and City Superintendents and their technical staff to map out the hosting plan which will include a) athletic facilities and equipment, b) billeting facilities, c) opening and closing ceremonies.

Get the Sanguniang Panlalawigan and Sanguniang Panglugsod to issue a joint resolution supporting the hosting of the Palarong Pambansa 2013.

Form an local Organizing Committee which will include membership from LGUs such as education, health, military, PNP, PIA, DPWH, tourism, trade and industry, and representatives of academe.

Inputs from these partners will be the materials for the bid presentation, in PowerPoint, called for by the DepEd.

Prepare a program for training local athletes since local people will be disappointed if our athletes will perform poorly.

Unlike hosting of the PSC’s Batang Pinoy and PNG where minimal financial support is provided, the Palaro host will receive substantial financial assistance which can be secured by an influential Congress representative(s) of Negros Oriental by directly seeking this from President Noynoy, or from DBM Secretary Butch Abad. Hosting the Palaro provides ample opportunities for seeking financial assistance, and it could serve as a very strong justification for the release of funds currently withheld for the rehabilitation of damages caused by typhoon Sendong.

Another important consideration which Gov. Ruel Degamo and Mayor Chiquiting Sagarbarria should understand is that the Palararong Pambansa which falls during an election year is usually an opportunity for the Administration to use the event as its miting de avance because of the presence of representatives from the 17 regions of the country. Our local government officials could convince the Aquino government that by bringing the Palaro to Negros Oriental, a central point of the Archipelago, this sporting event could very well serve political ends.

My advice to Paultom Paras and Ike Villaflores is to start preparing for this challenging task of bidding for and hosting the Palarong Pambansa 2013 and make sure this time that Negros Oriental will get it. We will have the distinction of being the only place in the Philippines that have hosted three, yes, three, national sporting events one-after-the-other in the country. Bacolod and Mandaue have already submitted their respective bids and using media to support them. Meanwhile Negros Oriental is silent. Time to wake up, guys!

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