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Baguio not ready to host CARAA

NOT READY. The Department of Education – Cordillera and the City of Baguio goes full blast in preparing venues for the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) sports meet that has now a playdate – April 29 to May 1. Here, student-athletes train at the Baguio athletic bowl where constructions are in full blast that may not allow games to be staged there. Pigeon Lobien

While the Department of Education are gearing up for the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) sports meet at the end of the month, heavy equipment started to roll in at the Baguio Athletic bowl to demolish the walls of the entrance and the small bleachers, called bandstand of old. Three years after the cancellation of the biennial games, DepEd officials are now ready to welcome athletes from the seven provinces and the lone city of Baguio of the region, but everything seems not fine with the host local government. “We might just beg off,” said city sports development coordinator Gaudencio GGonzals.

Gonzales said that construction is on full blast with PhP391 million multi-purpose sports complex, the PhP105 million tennis court, the dorm and now the PhP10 million gate where equipment has now rolled in to start construction after the demolitions. The notice to proceed has been given to the contractor and must start soon with the project. Even neighbor Benguet could not make use of the Wangal Sports Complex. DepEd eyes April 29 to May 1 as dates of the CARAA meet. It was in March 17, 2020 when Magalong issued an administrative order declaring Baguio under enhanced community quarantine after a Malacanang directive that led to lockdown that prevented all social interactions to arrest spread of the Covid 19 virus. The playdate is April 29 to May 1.

The biggest sporting spectacle that expects around 7,000 student-athletes from the region returns with newly installed DepEd – Baguio school division superintendent Soraya Faculo confirming the dates and with Baguio as host, three years after it was supposed to host it. “Yup,” said Gonzales as they confirmed that the city will host anew the event which it was supposed to do in 2020 before the entire Luzon was declared under enhanced community quarantine or total lockdown on March 17 to stop spread of the then novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) or later called Covid-19, a week prior its start on March 24.

The CARAA comes after the conclusion of the district meets late last March, although team events are not included in the trimmed down schedule, which prompted coaches of said events to lobby for its resumption. It will also be the first time that Magalong will host the event as mayor of the city after the cancellation in 2020, right after the Baguio Flower Festival was called off. Last Holy Week, Magalong first saw the staging of the Lucky Summer Visitors of the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters after three years of absence and him hosting the seven lucky ones at his office on Good Friday.

He was at the Media Camp in April of 2019 but then as a candidate seeking the office of the mayor. It will be recalled that all regional meets in February 2020 were postponed as per order of DepEd Sec. Leonor Briones that prompted then regional director May Eclar to issue Regional Memo No. 40, series of 2020. In DepEd’s CARAA 2020 Facebook page, it marked March 24 as opening and expected to end March 28. It will be recalled also that the Heroes Mural Project was conceived in February 2020 and painting to start soon and ready for opening during the CARAA but was moved to October of that year due to the lockdown. Pigeon Lobien

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