MANILA, Philippines - Efforts to institutionalize the Palarong Pambansa as the premier national sporting event of the country have gained ground in Congress.
Senate Bill 3377, or “An Act Institutionalizing the conduct of the Palarong Pambansa and appropriating funds therefor,” is currently pending for second reading in the Upper Chamber.
The bill, prepared and submitted jointly by the committees on amateur sports competitiveness and finance with Senators Francis Escudero and Antonio Trillanes IV as authors, is the Senate’s counterpart of the House version.
The Lower Chamber had already approved on third reading House Bill 6119, which also seeks to institutionalize the Palaro.
Under the proposed law, the Palaro should be the Phl’s premier national sporting event under the Department of Education as “venue for talent identification, selection and recognition of student-athletes.”
It also seeks to improve DepEd’s national school sports program and give more prestige to the annual event by encouraging better participation of schools through incentives and rewards such as financial support for additional scholarships and improvement of their sports and physical education programs.
Likewise, the bill aims to encourage local government units to take a pro-active role in the promotion of Palaro locally and nationally by providing incentives and rewards (to the LGUs that will win the hosting bid).
In institutionalizing the Games, a Palarong Pambansa Board will be formed to serve as the lead policy-making and coordinating body for the preparation of the annual meet. It will be attached to the DepEd and composed of the Education secretary as chair, and four DepEd usecs, three DepEd asecs, the Philipppine Sports Commission chairman and the DILG secretary, as its members.
As for the events, the bill assigned 15 to the elementary level (athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, chess, football, gymnastics, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball and arnis) and 21 to the secondary division (archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, billiards, boxing, chess, football, futsal, gymnastics, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, wrestling and wushu).
Events should not be limited to the abovementioned and there should also be events for student-athletes with disabilities.
Under this set-up, the PSC will be tasked to “make available manpower and technical resources for the Palaro and other school-based programs or DepEd, and to also formulate and implement a training program for outstanding Palaro athletes to ensure continuity of their athletic development and education.”