CVIRAA: Puto maya w/o Sikwate?
BLEACHER TALK - Rico S. Navarro (The Freeman) - February 9, 2020 - 12:00am

Have you ever eaten/tasted puto maya without sikwate? Pwede, but it will be bland and tasteless. You want to taste the best version? Go the Dumaguete public market. When? Try the CVIRAA 2020. But something bothers me. The CVIRAA in Dumaguete looks like it will be puto maya without sikwate.

As of today (and I pray that I’m wrong), the CVIRAA will be held without a delegation from the Cebu Province Division of the Department of Education (DepEd). Who or what is the Cebu Province? Let’s refresh our memory, shall we? Issa Molde, Sisi Rondina, Gretchel Soltones and Justine Dorog. They once played in the Cebu Provincial Meet and later the CVIRAA of their time. So did the likes of the Don Bosco Boys’ Home football team, the Carmen boys and girls basketball team and many others. My personal sweet spot? His name is John Edward Aguilar. He’s a nobody if compared to the names mentioned above but he happens to be a somebody; he’s the team captain of a team called the Magis Eagles. He played for the Consolacion Central Elementary school at the 2014 Cebu Provincial Meet and played for the gold medal-winning Cebu Province elementary basketball team in the CVIRAA of that school-year. He’ll hold his head up high when he graduates on March 28. Now if the Cebu Province did not participate in the CVIRAA during their time, what would have happened to all of them?

As we write this piece, it looks like the Cebu Province is not sending a delegation to the CVIRAA for the simple reason that they are not staging a Cebu Provincial Meet, the qualifier for the CVIRAA 2020. According to reports, the DepEd Cebu Province can’t stage it since it doesn’t have the support of the Cebu Provincial Government. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t intend to pick a fight with Gov. Gwen on this. In fact, we should respect her decision. But my question for the DepEd Cebu Province is why are they so dependent on the provincial government? Why can’t they run a Cebu Provincial Meet without the governor’s support? They ought to remember that the lead organizer of the Provincial Meet is the DepEd, not the provincial government.

If the DepEd leaders were passionate sportsmen, they will realize that if there’s a will, there’s a way. Why throw to waste the various unit/district and municipal meets held earlier? Why hold the student-athletes hostage and punish them? They just need to be practical. Instead of staging the usual province wide meet where they bring in practically all towns to one venue for the Provincial Meet, they can opt to adopt a seeding scheme for all events: pre-select teams to converge at a venue to play in a weekend tournament. For football, they can invite the towns that are known to have stable football programs and who can find the means to play in a tournament. Top mentions here are Don Bosco Boys’ Home/KNF of Lilo-an, Consolacion Elementary School, Sisters of Mary School-Boystown of Minglanilla, Madridejos, Balamban, Barili and Alcoy. In basketball, the programs of Carmen, Minglanilla (SMS Boystown), Consolacion, San Francisco, Argao, Medellin and Pinamungajan are always ready to play. Send them a text about a tournament and they won’t even hesitate to join. They’ll even dare say, ”Ugma na ta duwa!” Why do I say this? Because they’re all playing in a tournament right now! Moreover, they have the support of their local LGU and private supporters. Ask the Central Visayas Football Association for help and I’m sure they’ll be more than willing to stage a tournament of the top football teams for the Cebu Province, di ba Engineer Rod and Brod KNF? At the SBP, we can always bring in teams to a weekend tournament. As our battlecry says, “Para sa Bayan,” (not para sa bayad). Officials? What use are all your DepEd teachers who are mandated to also manage these tournaments? Please don’t tell me they’ll apply the “no pay, no play policy” for officiating games. May I remind all that this is part of the job. The same concept can be adopted for all other sports.

Looking at the long term, the DepEd Cebu Province should also re-visit its format of games. From a geographical perspective, there is no need to bring in so many teams to one venue for the provincial meet. They can split up the province into geographical zones that can have its own qualifier tournaments. We already have the congressional districts in place and I’m sure the congressmen will more than willing to lend a hand. We can also go with a simple splitting of the province into four zones: Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast. Each zone will run its own sub-provincial meet qualifiers so that the Provincial Meet will showcase only four zones/teams, but featuring the best of the best.

The DepEd Cebu Province finds itself in a quandary today, but they should see this as an opportunity to stand up and do something noble. They shouldn’t fall to be part of the problem but stand up and provide a solution. To copy from my favorite source of quotable quotes (Noli Ayo), they can do two things. They can do something. Or they can do nothing.

Please make mine puto maya with sikwate.

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