Senator Grace Poe yesterday said the Filipino youth should not lack in opportunities to get exposed in various sporting activities at their young age and called for the strengthening of the Palarong Pambansa program as a source of future national athletes.

Poe, a taekwondo practitioner, also cited the availability of the many sports complexes in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, some of which were built primarily for the Palarong Pambansa when their cities and provinces took their turns to host the Games.
She said the venues could be still be saved to serve their purpose of providing the youth with access to sporting venues and equipment for their exposure and training.

“Since 1948, when the first Bureau of Public Schools Interscholastic Athletics Association (BPISAA) Games were held, until it reincarnated into the Palarong Pambansa in 1974, many public sports complexes have been built as venues for the Games. The national government and the local government units should help the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) in keeping these venues in top shape so that our young athletes could enjoy access to these facilities in their dreams of becoming future sports stars,” Poe said.”We should save these facilities from becoming white elephants,” Poe added.

Also, Poe lamented the fact that most of these venues are no longer being used for sporting purposes.
“Most of the time, these venues are only being tapped for non-sports activities. There could be more times when political activities and programs are held in these venues. Sayang naman ang pagkakataon. Let us give these facilities back to our youth,” Poe said.

Thirty-six cities and provinces have hosted the Palarong Pambansa since 1948, where elementary and high school students have taken part in various disciplines which have grown to 17 sports until it was last hosted by Tagum in Davao del Norte in 2015.

Among these venues, Manila, Tuguegarao, Cavite, Vigan, Iloilo, Lingayen in Pangasinan, Tacloban, Zamboanga City, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Lucena, Koronadal and Naga have hosted the Palarong Pambansa more than twice.”Unfortunately, some the venues which have hosted the Games are no longer there. The others were maintained by the host provinces and cities, while the newer ones get refurbished once in a while when their owners bid for another shot at Palarong Pambansa hosting,” Poe shared.

“There’s still a chance for us to improve on our regional standing in sports,” Poe said. “While there is no denying that our neighbors have improved a lot, especially in events where Filipino athletes used to excel, it is not too late for us to go back where we used to scout for potential talents.”#