Another dismal finish of Ifugao as 7th place in the recent CARAA in Benguet as it has not improved in spite of the millions of pesos allocated for sports by the Local Government Units of Ifugao.

You may blame DepEd to hell for being the source of manpower competing in the different sports events. Their coaches are not familiar with the events they are coaching, that they have no training or they are just up to their certificates. Or point fingers to the LGUs for not providing the necessary equipment and perhaps how they are handling the trainings for higher competitions. Countless comments/criticisms have been heard and more are expected when there shall have been nothing done after the two consecutive bottom finish of Ifugao.

Let us take a look at the setup of our sports activities. In August 2001, Republic Act 9155, otherwise called the Governance of Basic Education Act, was passed transforming the name of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) to the Department of Education (DepEd) and redefining the role of field offices (regional offices, division offices, district offices and schools). The Act also removed the administration of cultural and sports activities from the department.

 The National Historical Institute, Records Management and Archives Office, and the National Library are now administratively attached to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (Philippines) (NCCA). All previous functions, programs, and activities related to sports competition were all transferred to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). In addition, the Bureau of Physical Education and School Sports was abolished.

This set up has made an impact in the DepEd curriculum. Physical Education (PE) is integrated with Music and Arts thus MAPE has become one component of the MAKBAYAN Subject which is allotted only 40 minutes and taught only twice or thrice a week for 20 minutes each.Ironically, RA No.10588 Institutionalized the Palarong Pambansa  as the Premier National Sporting event of the country under the Department of Education as a venue for talent identification, selection, recruitment of athletes (Article 1,Sec.3), Palarong Pambansa aims to Promote Physical Education and Sports as an integral part of the Basic Education Curriculum and as an affirmation to the schools’ commitment to the full development of the great potentials of the youth to become responsible and globally competitive citizens of our society BUT again it did not spell changes in the curriculum.

Thus there came up the traditional way of our sports activities. DepEd in the district level decides the schedule for Zonal meets (School or cluster level intramurals) and the District Selection Meet in coordination with the Local Government Units. Preparation to said competitions are usually a week or even just a few days before the activity and players are randomly picked by teachers even without  proper training maybe due to lack of sports equipments or of time constraints (sports equipments are usually solicited except for some schools with bigger MOOE who can buy some).

After the Zonal selection Meet, there is no regular training for the selected athletes until the District Meet. The same happens after the Municipal selection meet, pupils/students who are selected for the Provincial Meet stays idle until the scheduled 10-days or the most 14 days formal training.

During the training period, some coaches may opt to request for trainers to train their athletes for the reason that said coach may not be familiar with the event he or she is coaching. It is because coaches are just assigned by school heads even if they actually have a little knowledge of the game. It is even worse when assigned coaches don’t stay with the trainer and athletes during practices. They just come to monitor, give snacks, give update on the papers of the athletes then leave to either attend to their classes or do other matters. The same thing happens during and after the Provincial Meet. These sports practices maybe called compliance only to directives under RA 10588 and the PCS.

Along the way, what is actually missing in our sports activities? Why do we keep on blaming each other after every dismal performance in the different sports competitions? Even as our LGUs are spending millions of pesos for sports as mentioned by Hazel Gayamo, the executive assistant of Hon.Ronel Gayamo, the SK Federation Chairman says and I quote, “for 2 years now,, we are at the bottom of the overall standing on the CARAAevery year we hope of a better finishing for the next CARAA…but for the past  years we are deteriorating in the overall standing,,, funds were provided for by the provincial government,,, for this year almost 4million was budgeted and still we remain in the 7th… Do we need to pour every cent just to be in the 3rd place???,,,,”( From ICW Group).

The missing Target? A FUNCTIONAL SPORTS PROGRAM. A program that will address the different issues/problems concerning sports activities. Given the set-up in the DepEd Curriculum, we can still do something and a sports program may be considered as an option.This is in coordination with the Local Government Units which provides funds as DepEd provides the manpower. The DepEd District of Lamut was requested to submit a proposed sports program and it did but the state of it is still unknown. Almost all the basic considerations were stipulated in the sample sports program. Among these basic needs are the provision of sports equipments, improvement of facilities and training activities for coaches and athletes. The previous provincial government had drafted one and furnished the division office But its chance for implementation is dim as  they have a different plan.

If we do not act now then when will it be? When will we ever learn our lessons?  A challenge to DepEd , Municipal and Provincial LGU’s. Let us start planning new competitive– the future are in our hands. Let not those millions of pesos be wasted to mere participation . #Edison  C. Balanian