SAN JOSE, Antique –President Rodrigo R. Duterte will kickstart this year’s Palarong Pambansa as it formally opens today, April 23, 2017, here, with around 10,000 student-athletes from the 18 competing regions.
Carrying the theme, “2017 Palarong Pambansa: Converges Youth Power, Builds Sustainable Future,” the biggest sports event backed by the Department of Education (DepEd) which culminates on April 29 promises to showcase youth empowerment through athleticism, sportsmanship, discipline, and camaraderie.
This year’s Palaro elevated wushu, wrestling, billiards, and futsal as regular sports bringing in a total of 22 sports disciplines to be contested in both elementary and secondary levels. Demonstration sports this year includes pencak silat, aerobic gymnastics, dancesports, walkathon, and sepak takraw girls.
The sports to be contested under the Special Para games are swimming, bocce, goalboal, and track events.
Meanwhile, the pressure is on for Team Cordillera, which is hoping for a better finish this year. Since the arrival of the first batch of athletes last April 15 and the second batch last April 18, athletes and coaches have powered up their in-house training and acclimatization.
According to DepEd CAR regional sports coordinator Agustin G. Gumuwang, the preparation of athletes bound for the Palaro has started in their schools and respective provinces after the regional selection last February.
Gumuwang also revealed that some coaches and athletes like in wushu have partnered with trainers of international reputation like world champion Divine Wally.
“We are very fortunate that our trainers and coaches have partnered with world champions like Divine. Her presence gives a further boost to our desire for a higher rank,” Gumuwang said.
DepEd Cordillera OIC Regional Director Beatriz G. Torno has also expressed optimism that the rank of CAR will improve from its dismal 9th place overall finish last year.
“We have to be optimistic and continually motivate our athletes and coaches to be at their best to ensure a better overall finish,” Torno said.
The Regional Director also expressed that they have enough budget to cover the transportation, food, uniform, and allowances especially of the athletes and that they have also increased the incentives for medalists.
“The gold medalists will receive PhP 3,000 while the silver and bronze medalists will receive PhP 2,000 and PhP 1,000 respectively. We will also give these incentives right there and then,” Torno added.
A total of 473 athletes comprises this year’s Team Cordillera. Fourteen athletes are from the Province of Abra, 30 from Apayao, 21 from Mt. Province, 20 from Ifugao, 61 from Kalinga and Tabuk City, 81 from Benguet, and 246 from the City of Baguio.
Under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10588, Palarong Pambansa is recognized as one of the country’s premier national sporting event and the primary avenue for providing in-school sports opportunities to boost youth’s physical, intellectual, and social well-being. – Georaloy I. Palao-ay