DAVAO CITY – Mindanao’s Region 12 – also referred to as Soccsksargen – landed fourth overall among 17 regions in the just-concluded Palarong Pambansa held here on April 27 to May 4, with 109 medals – 26 Gold, 43 Silver and 40 Bronze.
In last year’s Palarong Pambansa in Vigan, Region 12 ranked 7th with 79 medals (21-26-32).
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato. The latter voted in January this year for inclusion in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Overall, Mindanao’s six regions won 334 medals (74-116-144) or 25.63% out of a total of 1,303 medals awarded. Last year, it won 290 medals (65-90-135) or 23.18% out of a total of 1,251 medals awarded.
The five other Mindanao regions ranked 8th, 11th, 12th, 16th and 17th in the just concluded games.
Northern Mindanao or Region 10 placed 8th with 70 medals (17-27-26). Last year, it ranked 6th also with 70 medals (23-18-29).
Host Davao Region or Region 11 placed 11th with 72 medals (13-22-37). Last year it ranked 9th with 67 medals (12-27-28).
Caraga Region hauled 37 medals (13-10-14) to make it to 12th place. Last year, it ranked 14th with 38 medals (8-10-20).
Zamboanga Peninsula or Region 9 is at the bottom – 17th — with 27 medals (2-4-21). Last year it ranked 16th with 33 medals (1-9-24).
The Moro-dominated region – on its first entry in the national games as the BARMM (from the previous Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or ARMM) – won 19 medals (3-10-6) to make it to 16th this year, from last year’s 17th.
Last year, the ARMM delegation returned home with only three Bronze medals. In 2017, ARMM won seven medals (1-4-4) and in 2016, 17 medals (3-4-10).
Mohagher Iqbal, chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s Peace Implementing Panel and now BARMM Minister for Basic, Higher and Technical Education, told MindaNews on May 1 that they “expect to improve our standing next year.”
“We have to make a difference in the BARMM now that the MILF is on the driver’s seat,” he said.
On Sunday, May 5, Iqbal told MindaNews the BARMM’s performance this year is “good enough.”
“Better as a starter,” he said. The BARMM took over the ARMM on February 26 this year.
“We are giving modest cash incentives tomorrow,” he said, but did not indicate how much.
The Department of Education (DepEd) in neighboring Region 12 has allotted some 3 million pesos as incentive for athletes who won medals.
An earlier MindaNews report quoted Dr. Allan Farnazo, DepEd-12 regional director, as saying they doubled their budget for the incentive from last year's P1.5 million to encourage their athletes to work harder and strive to win more medals for the region.
He said they increased the cash incentive for gold medalists from 15,000 to 20,000 pesos while the silver and bronze winners will get 5,000 pesos and 3,000, respectively.
He had earlier announced that the regional office will give an additional 10,000 pesos each for Region 12’s first three gold medalists. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)