Mother of Palarong Pambansa athlete laments lack of facilities in Davao venue

May 3, 2019 - 2:01 PM
Swimming pool at Davao City Sports Complex_Interaksyon
A mother of a student-athlete who participated in the swimming competition of Palarong Pambansa 2019 lamented the poor facilities of the venue. (Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos)

The mother of a contestant in the 2019 Palarong Pambansa lamented the lack of facilities and accommodation provided in the venue of the national swimming competition.

Eyzell Claro Balbuena shared her experiences when her daughter participated in the prestigious event as a swimmer on April 30, Tuesday at the newly-built Davao City Sports Complex at the University of the Philippines-Mindanao.

Balbuena claimed that the “pool was ready but the area for swimmers and parents is definitely not.”

Balbuena observed that “swimmers had to stay under the bleachers, and had to bear the grueling heat.”

“Parents had to stand at the bleachers without roofing and had to shield themselves from the scorching heat as well. There were not enough shower areas for swimmers. There were no toilets available, so we had to settle with portable toilets,” she continued.

Balbuena accompanied her post with pictures, where one of it featured an individual who was being attended by medical personnel because of accident-related injuries.

“This was when one teammate of ours met an accident because we were situated below the steel bars under the stairs,” she shared in the comments section.

Balbuena clarified that she is used to attending various competitions since her daughter is a swimmer.

However, she was dismayed with the state of facilities and accommodations provided for both the athletes and the spectators considering it is a national sports event.

“What happened to the announcement that Davao is ready for the event?” Balbuena wrote in her post.

The Palarong Pambansa is an annual multi-sport event that involves different student-athletes from public and private schools in elementary and secondary levels hailing from 17 regions of the country.

It is organized and governed by the Department of Education.

This year’s Palarong Pambansa is being held in Davao City on April 28 to May 5, 2019. Over 2,000 student-athletes are expected to participate in the event.

‘World-class’ facilities

There were initial hesitations about the swimming pool in the Davao City Sports Complex since people feared that its construction would not be completed in time for the national sports event.

The backup plan was to hold the swimming competition in Tagum City instead, which is an hour’s drive away from the main hub.

However, Philippine Sports Commission chairman William “Butch” Ramirez on April 9 shared that the pool would be completed by April 20, one week before the official opening of Palarong Pambansa 2019.

“For us with Secretary Briones, there is no other option for the swimming pool but the Davao City-UP Sports. It just needs water, touchpad and gadgets then the bleachers will be constructed, these are the 15 percent left to complete the facility,” he said in a press conference before.

Davao City Sports Division head Mikey Aportadera also revealed that all of the sporting facilities for Palarong Pambasan 2019 would be “world-class” and of international standards.

“We have world-class sports facilities that we will be using, the FIFA-standard football field, the FINA-standard swimming pool and of course the other facilities, like the track and field, the oval and the stadium,” he said in a previous interview.

Aportadera added that the facilities in the Davao City Sports Complex at UP-Mindanao were designed to hold international competitions.

The Davao City Sports Complex is composed of a football field, a stadium, a gym, a rubberized track oval and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. — Artwork by Interaksyon/Uela Altar-Badayos