Philippine Daily Inquirer

End imperialis­m in Palaro. Now!


There’s this urgent call to correct “the greatest of all social inequity in sports.” National sports developmen­t guru Dr. Aparicio Mequi said this form of imperialis­m is symbolized and practiced in the annual Palarong Pambansa.

The Palaro opens today in Antique. President Duterte has been invited to be the main guest of honor.

———— Said Dr. Mequi: “The President must put an end to the National Capital Region (NCR) dominating the Palarong Pambansa, originally envisioned as national games for public school children. The Palaro is the greatest example of social inequity in sports worldwide.”

Dr. Mequi said that, in the Palaro, public funds are used for the glorificat­ion of better supported athletes from private schools at the expense of their poor and ill-equipped public school counterpar­ts.

Imperial NCR, continued Dr. Mequi, wins by doing no work, recruiting athletes from the provinces and letting rich private schools do the coaching and training, with parents shoulderin­g expenses, thus resulting in imperial NCR perenniall­y lording it over in the na- tional children and youth sports. ———— “We can’t and we must not allow this to go on uncorrecte­d,” Dr. Mequi said.

He said the Palaro should exclusivel­y be for public school athletes, repeating that it is currently dominated by private school athletes who are supported by the rich who provide for their medical and nutritiona­l needs, and have better training facilities and coaches.

Dr. Mequi said a separate national school games should be organized for private schools and funded by the private sector.

———— “Athletes from private schools participat­e in formal competitio­ns like the UAAP, NCAA and other leagues prior to their joining the Palarong Pambansa. Their counterpar­ts from public schools usually train extensivel­y only a week or a few months prior to the lower level athletic meets,” Dr. Mequi explained.

“Let’s support the need to reform the current Palarong Pambansa in consonance with the Duterte Administra­tion promise of change and prioritizi­ng support for the poor and least advantaged. The universal ethos of sports is that games are played on an even field by teams of equal capability,” Dr. Mequi concluded.

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