Not just sports: Mimaropa’s ‘Clean and Green’ program at Palaro
Not just sports: Mimaropa’s ‘Clean and Green’ program at Palaro
From basketball ring-inspired trash bags to planting crops, Mimaropa is one of the model clean and green regions at Palarong Pambansa

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Aside from fierce competition on the pitch, court, track, mat, or pool, the 18 regions also have a different battles at billeting areas – the race to becoming the cleanest and greenest region at the 2016 Palarong Pambansa.

The Department of Education (DepEd) is already on its 6th year of conducting the “Clean, Green, Organized and Eco-friendly Palarong Pambansa” contest, where regions ensure their billeting areas are environmentally friendly.

That includes efficient water and electricity usage, bringing reusable kitchen utensils instead of styrofoam or plastic materials, and practicing proper waste segregation.

The collection, transport, storage, and disposal of solid wastes for the whole duration of the Palaro as well as sanitation and food safety measures are also part of the program.

BILLETING AREA. The Mimaropa billeting quarters for the 2016 Palarong Pambansa in Legazpi City, Albay. Photo by Joshua Caleb Pacleta/Rappler

Mimaropa or Region IV-B has been a perennial champion of the annual contest, having won 3 times including back-to-back victories in 2014 and 2015. They’re gunning for a 3-peat this year.

“Discipline is a big factor to achieve the cleanest and greenest delegation. Also ang pagiging organized ng mga athlete (Also, organized athletes), cooperation and unity of every member of the delegation [are the reasons we always win],” said Mer Galang Lalo, DepEd Mimaropa regional sports officer.

Choosing the winner

According to DepEd Memorandum No. 40 series of 2015: “An evaluation team from the DepEd Central Office will inspect the different billeting areas at random during the week-long Palaro. All designated clean and green coordinators are requested to be present during the inspection of the billeting areas.”

Each region is also required to plant a minimum of 30 native trees at the school they are billeted in or in the area they are staying in, to be led by the regional director together with the sports and school officials.

There are 4 awards that are being given under the competition: Most Disciplined Delegation, Most Organized Delegation, Best Billeting Center, and Cleanest, Greenest and Eco-Friendliest Delegation.

The winning region receives P30,000, while the second and third placers get P20,000 and P10,000, respectively.

When asked where Mimaropa’s prizes go, Lalo said “it is being used for next year’s preparation of our billeting quarter for beautification and physical arrangement.”

Mimaropa’s ‘Clean and Green’ action

This year, Mimaropa is billeted at Gogon Elementary and High School (GEHS), where it has initiated its best clean and green practices.

For proper waste segregation in GEHS, the region created trash bags inspired by basketball rings. These are segregated as “Nakaka-udong” (toxic); “Nareresiklo” (recycled); “Nalalapa” (biodegradable); and “Dai Nalalapa” (non-biodegradable).

SHOOT SOME TRASH! Mimaropa's basketball ring-inspired trash bag. Photo by Joshua Caleb Pacleta/Rappler

The basketball ring-inspired trash bag was an idea of the Calapan City Division that was adopted by Mimaropa during the regional meet.

The Mimaropa delegates also planted vegetables like gabi (taro), cabbage, and okra in areas in the school that can be cultivated.

Usually ‘yung basurahang parte ng school – ‘yung hindi nabibigyan pansin ng school,” Lalo said. “Kung ano ‘yung need of billeting quarter o community nag-iisip kami ng pwedeng gawin.”

(Usually it’s the areas the school doesn’t pay attention to. We think of what we could do based on the needs of the billeting quarter or community.)

“This year, we implemented the coastal clean-up wherein we adopted one barangay somewhere in San Roque, Legazpi City,” he added.

For 5 years now, the region has also conducted Brigada Mimaropa (which entails adopting a community to clean up and beautify), tree planting, and Gulayan sa Paaralan (planting crops in schools) as the region’s legacy for its billeting quarters. 

Ipinapakita namin sa kanila na sana maging way of life na ng community, teachers, and the students as well [ang pagpapanatili ng kalinisan ng schools at community].”

(We show them that we hope maintaining cleanliness in schools and in the community becomes a way of life for the teachers and students as well.)

Feedback, positive impact

Lalo shared that some schools they stayed in during previous editions of the Palaro have thanked Mimaropa for implementing its “Clean and Green” program.

“‘Yung schools keep on texting [us] na maganda ‘yung nagiging feedback [ng ‘Clean and Green’ program] sa mga bata dahil naa-adapt na nila,” he said. 

(Schools keep texting us good feedback and tell us that the kids are adapting.)

“Natutuwa sila dahil the school really transformed sa dating itsura nito hanggang sa umalis kami at iniwan yung legacy ng Mimaropa sa school.”

(They’re happy because the school really transformed and we left Mimaropa’s legacy at the school.)

CLEAN AND GREEN. Mimaropa cultivates soil in schools and plants crops. Photo by Joshua Caleb Pacleta/Rappler

DepEd Mimaropa is very strict when it comes to cleanliness during the Palarong Pambansa.

“‘Yung bata hindi lang dapat naglalaro kundi may disiplina and then ‘yung pangangalaga sa kalikasan ay dapat ma-inculcate sa kanila.” 

(The students shouldn’t just play, they should also have discipline and caring for the environment should be inculcated in them.)

Kung gaano kami kalinis sa Palawan dinadala lang namin dito para makita ng mga Bicolano na disiplinado kami,” said 16-year-old Emmanuel Cocjin, a Grade 10 student of Faith Adventist Academy in Palawan and Mimaropa’s athlete for sepak takraw.

(As clean as we are in Palawan, we bring that with us here so the Bicolanos can see we are disciplined.)

In terms of DepEd Mimaropa’s National Greening Program, the regional sports officer said that the platform has indeed made a positive impact on the students’ lives.

After nilang sumali sa Palarong Pambansa, pag-uwi nila sa kani-kanilang mga bahay, mai-a-apply nila sa buhay kung ano ‘yung nakita nila dito.”

(After the Palarong Pambansa, when they return home, they can apply what they learned here.) – Joshua Caleb Pacleta/

Joshua Caleb Pacleta, 20, is a Journalism graduate of the Bicol University College of Arts and Letters. He is a Rappler intern for the 2016 Palarong Pambansa.

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