SAN JOSE, ANTIQUE – President Rodrigo Duterte will grace the opening ceremony of the Palarong Pambansa to be attended by more than 7,000 athletes from the country’s 18 regions Sunday at the Binirayan Sports Complex.
Duterte, despite his busy schedule especially with the coming Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting the country is set to host, will deliver an inspirational talk for the athletes/students that will play in 24 sports for one week with 925 gold medals at stake.
Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao is particularly excited with the province hosting the annual event.
“The Palaro has transformed this sleepy and practically unknown province into a hosting machine,” said Cadiao in a press conference attended by Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones held at the Kaniugan Garden Restaurant.
“This is the empowerment of small cities where development will be pushed to the countryside through sports,” added Cadiao.
On the other hand, Briones said that they have encouraged young students to get into sports after a study showed there is little interest among youths to get involved in sports.
“We hope the Palaro will encourage them not only to play these games but to take up sports as a particular specialization and profession in the future,” said Briones.
According to the DepEd chief, out of the 1.5 million Grade 11 pupils in the country, only 3,175 students – grade school and high school – are involved in sports with about 925,000 are interested in the academic program while 602,000 are into technical and livelihood programs after finishing college.
“Sports is an honorable profession because you give glory to the country. I hope more learners go seriously into sports as a lifetime commitment,” said Briones.
Meantime, Palarong Pambansa product Elma Muros-Posadas, a former Olympian and Asian Games long jumper, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in today’s opening ceremony with the theme Palarong Pambansa: Converges Youth Power, Builds Sustainable Future.