Sports meet coincides with Panagbenga, PMA homecoming

BAGUIO CITY – Three major events here are slated on the same day in the middle of February.
The Panagbenga will have some of its main events on February 16 coinciding with the last day of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) homecoming and the start of the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) meet.
The Panagbenga season peaks with one of its traditional events lined up at the Melvin Jones Football Field, the Let a Thousand Flower Bloom which is a whole day event.
Also lined up at the same venue is the “Handog ng Panagbenga sa Pamilya Baguio,” a family fair that is also a whole day activity as well as the “Panagbenga Open Kite Flying”, the “Panagbenga Cultural Show” and the fireworks display, one of the several events during the month-long festivity.
The PMA will have the closing of its annual alumni homecoming which will start on February 14.
The Panagbenga used to slug it out with the PMA alumni homecoming when hundreds of alumni from the military academy come up here in their vehicles while the street and float parade was being staged, causing traffic gridlock.
That scenario prompted the festival organizers to move the Panagbenga main events to another date.
And it will also be the start of the CARAA where more than 7,000 athletes and delegates from the six provinces and two cities in the region will vie for sports supremacy.
It will start with a parade at the city’s main thoroughfares – Session and Harrison Roads – to the athletic bowl where the opening ceremonies will be staged including the lighting of the torch led by South East Asian Games(SEAG) medalists.
Baguio is set to host the CARAA anew after Apayao backed out as a result of disasters in the last part of 2019 in the said province.
Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong earlier raised the issue with the Department of Education-Cordillera of being the emergency host prompting the city to dig deep in its coffers in hosting the annual sports competition that chooses the region’s representatives to the Palarong Pambansa.
The Baguio division of the DepEd has outlined a budget of PHP8.4 million for the meet that ends on Feb. 21, most of which will be shouldered by the city, prompting Magalong to tell DepEd that Baguio will not do the same in the future to have the city as host if there are no takers.
DepEd has asked a PHP15 million budget but it was trimmed down to PHP10 million and the final PHP8.4 million forwarded by DepEd-Baguio.
In a press release, the city’s Public Information Office said: “The city government also informed city education officials that it is no longer interested to host the conduct of the CARAA in the next two years as city officials do not want the city being declared as a host by virtue of default, aside from the fact that there are priority programs, projects, and activities where the present administration intends to use the available resources of the city.”
Baguio hosted the affair for three consecutive years from 2015 to 2017, Abra and Apayao hosted in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
DepEd-Cordillera has earlier announced that they are seeking bidders to host the annual regional sports competition for 2021, and 2022./Pigeon Lobien (PNA)