Laguna vows grandest hosting of 2014 Palarong Pambansa
January 14, 2014 12:57 am
By Jelly F. Musico
MANILA, Jan. 13 (PNA) – Laguna Gov. Jeorge ‘E.R.’ Ejercito Estregan on Monday promised the biggest and grandest hosting of the Palarong Pambansa, the country’s largest and premier school-based sportsfest slated on May 4-10 this year.
”This day marks the start of our journey to the biggest and grandest Palarong Pambansa,” Estregan said during the formal signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) between Laguna province and Department of Education (DepEd) at the DepEd headquarters in Pasig City.
Estregan said Laguna, which will be hosting the Palaro for the first time, will use the event to showcase the province’s unique tradition, culture, products, services, tourism destinations and its successes and achievements.
”Recently, Laguna province was named as one of the top three places to visit, to invest and to live in the country,” the governor said.
He said the province has started the groundwork for Palaro a year ago, allotting almost a P1 billion for the renovation of the 19-hectare Laguna Sports Complex.
”It (venue) has been improved and installed with new and state-of-the-art sports facilities to meet international standards and become the venue of prestigious competitions like the Palarong Pambansa,” Estregan said.
”We have started the groundwork a year ago already to ensure that all sectors of the community are moving and working in harmony towards the achievement of our ultimate goal which is to deliver the best-ever Palarong Pambansa in our nation’s history,” he added.
Estregan said the preparation of sports venues as well as billeting houses is expected to be finished by March.
”We are set to welcome 15,000 to 17,000 young athletes, coaches and officials from 17 regions that will compete in 19 sports disciplines with 399 athletic events in 7 days,” he said.
Estregan said basketball star James Yap and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao have been invited to light the torch during the opening ceremonies.
For his part, DepEd secretary Armin Luistro expressed gratitude to the people of Laguna province for their full support in hosting the Palaro this year.
”We are very happy for the enthusiasm of Gov. ER and the people of Laguna to bring the Palaro in their home turf,” Luistro said.
Luistro also thanked Laguna for pouring out huge resources to make sure that at least 85 percent of the events will be held at the sports complex.
"This is good news for our athletes because there would be no need for most of them to travel outside the sports complex," Luistro said.
DepEd assistant secretary Tonisito Umali said the department has been reviewing its policies and safety guidelines to make sure that death of a young boxer during the regional meet in Central Luzon will not happen again.
”The DepEd and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) have been working hard to come up with improve safety regulations and guidelines to make sure that athletes are safe, specially those competing in contact sports,” Umali said.
PSC commissioner Jolly Gomez said the PSC as well as the national sports associations (NSAs) and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) are working hand-in-hand with DepEd to assure the success of all the sporting events, including Palaro Pambansa, in the country.
"The PSC and the NSAs are assisting DepEd in the training of our school officials who will run the Palaro," Gomez said.
Palarong Pambansa has produced big names in local sports such as former Asia's sprint queen Lydia de Vega and long jump queen Elma Muros, among others. (PNA)