DepEd envisions one province, one sports complex

Joshua Caleb Pacleta
DepEd envisions one province, one sports complex
ARMM is one region that could greatly benefit from the Department of Education's vision of 'one province, one sports complex'

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) envisions a “world standard” sports complex for every province in the near future.

DepEd Secretary Br. Armin Luistro bared his vision in an interview with Rappler during the 2016 Palarong Pambansa here. The vision behind the hosting rotation among regions is to develop more sporting facilities in every province.

He added that should this vision materialize, “the sports complexes could be used for DepEd’s province-wide sports development program.”

Sinisiguro namin na ang sports facilities at programs ay may standard (We are ensuring that the sports facilities are up to standard),” Luistro said.

Prior to Luistro’s vision of “one province, one sports complex,” he also said during a May 5, 2015 press conference following the Senate committee hearing on the implementation of the K-12 program, that there should be at least one arts and design school, and one sports school for every province.

He said it would cater to senior high school students starting in the school year 2016-2017.

ARMM’s struggle for its own sports complex

One region that could greatly benefit from a sports complex is the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, or ARMM, which has been struggling to build a sports complex for years. It has affected the region’s performance in the annual Palarong Pamabansa.

“We all aim for a sports complex. Gusto nating magkaroon ng ganoong facility ang bawat probinsya (sa ARMM ) so that yung mga sports program (ng DepEd) ay mapalawak at mapalawig,” said Marjuni Maddi, DepEd ARMM Assistant Secretary.

“(It’s) not only limited to schools, but even for the other groups of the population like the senior citizens and women.”

The ARMM Athletics Association has placed 14th, 16th, 15th, and 14th in the national youth games for 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012, respectively. 

However, Maddi stated that Tawi-tawi is now half-way there with its own sports complex.

“They are aiming to finish that by December. It’s a big project because it’s a standard sports complex.”

Maddi shared Sulu province had its own sports complex during the time of former president Joseph Estrada.

“They supported the putting up of sports complex in Sulu not only for sports programs but also to promote peace that time.”

However, according to Maddi, there were some facilities in Sulu’s sports complex that were not operational like the swimming pool and the sports complex could not be utilized for Palarong ARMMAA.

For the past two years, Maguindanao Province won the bid for ARMM’s largest sporting event for elementary and high school students.

ONE PROVINCE, ONE SPORTS COMPLEX. ARMM is one of the regions that will greatly benefit from a sports complex. Photo by Roy Secretario/Rappler

Hindrance to performance

The lack of infrastructure, facilities and equipment in ARMM has been a perennial problem that hinders even its most talented athletes from going far at the Palaro.

“Because of the absence of sports complex, we usually cannot expect that the swimmers who (are) used to swimming in the sea (can swim well in the pool),” Maddi explained. 

“Kapag dadalhin mo sila sa pool, maninibago yung mga bata kasi mas denser yung tubig (sa pool). Mas lighter kasi yung dagat so mabilis talaga lumangoy sa dagat so pagdating sa swimming pool, mababagalan na sila dahil sa density ng tubig.

(If you bring them to a pool, they won’t be accustomed to it because water in the pool is denser. Sea water is lighter so they can swim faster there, and so when they get to the swimming pool, they’ll feel slow due to water density.) 

Maddi also said their atheletes for track and field are uncomfortable using spiked shoes on the track so they prefer to run barefoot.

Facility-wise, kung meron sanang rubberized track oval, masasanay na yung mga bata na gumamit ng running shoes and spiked shoes for track and field at hindi na sila maninibago pagdating dito (Palarong Pambansa),” he said.

(Facility-wise, if there was a rubberized track oval, the kids would get used to running shoes and spiked shoes for track and field and they won’t be caught off guard when they get to Palarong Pambansa.)

“And then a minor problem (is that) equipment is also limited in our area. So, the procurement needs to be done in Metro Manila dahil walang nagsu-supply ng magandang brand ng mga sports equipment [in ARMM] (because there is no supplier of good brands of sports equipment in ARMM).”

Maddi said that while other regions are doing their conditioning and practice in comfortable facilities, “kahit anong event man, in ARMM, wala kang makikitang ganoon (for whatever event, in ARMM, you won’t see any of that).”

“But you should appreciate the passion of these kids in playing with sports. Even with this kind of condition, they are still trying their best to bag medals,” he proudly said.

“Because of the problems in sports facilities in their locality, bago kami pumunta sa (before we went to) Legazpi we had them [trained for] 10 days in Cotabato for familiarization and conditioning. Kailangan nilang maka-experience ng laro sa standard na sports facilities (They need to experience playing in standard sports facilities),” he said.

ARMM was one of the earliest delegations to arrive in Legazpi. The ARMMAA traveled by bus from Cotabato to Iligan City, Lanao Del Norte, rode a boat from Iligan to Manila, and then traveled again by bus from Manila to Legazpi city.

Maddi admitted they are not aiming for a podium finish in this year’s Palaro. He pointed out that because of their “limitations,” the target is simply to move up from their previous rank of 14 and breach the top 10.

As of press time, ARMM already has 3 golds, 3 silvers, and 4 bronzes. – with reports from Jane Bracher/

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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