The Department of Education eyes holding a virtual Palarong Pambansa after the event was suspended last year due to the COVID-19 crisis.
According to Joel Erestain, they are studying sports that could be staged online. However, he admitted that a virtual Palarong Pambansa would have limited events.
“We’re looking at, and we’re hoping, and right now we’re planning to hold virtual Palarong Pambansa,” said Erestain during an appearance on the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
“Kaso nga lang, hindi na siya ‘yung full spectrum of the sporting events of the Palaro. But kung ano ‘yung pupwedeng ma-video, like ‘yung mga forms, ganyan,” he added. “Mga ganong tipo.”
In May 2020, Education Secretary Leonor Briones announced the suspension of Palarong Pambansa and other events that would draw large crowds to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It should have been held in Marikina City.
Erestain said they have already determined some sports that may be held virtually but they are not final and approved.
“Hindi pa final at hindi pa naa-approve ng Palarong Pambansa board, we’re finalizing our proposal pa,” he explained.
DepEd mulls holding virtual Palarong Pambansa
“Siyempre, from from the Palarong Pambansa board, iaakyat pa namin ‘yan sa IATF. Kaya hindi ko rin mabanggit (ang mga sports),” he added.
Aside from the limited number of sports events, it is also likely that only high school students could join the virtual Palaraong Pambansa due to quarantine restrictions.
“Sa nakikita po namin ngayon, kung iho-hold nga ang virtual, baka 15-18 (year olds) lang din ang makakasali,” said Erestain.
Erestain added he believes that a physical, face-to-face Palaro may not happen this year and in 2022.
“It will all depend on how the vaccines are rolled out nationwide, especially on students,” he explained. “Ang talagang primordial concern natin will always be the safety of our children, especially on the part of Palarong Pambansa and our student-athletes.”
“Pero nakikita natin, ‘pagka medyo nagi-ease up naman ‘yung situation, so baka pwede tayong magdagdag ng sports or sporting events, or pati siguro ng mga batang pwedeng lumahok,” he also said.