DepEd official declares Vigan ready to host 2018 Palarong Pambansa
DepEd Undersecretary Tonisito Umali has declared Vigan ready to host the Palarong Pambansa from April 15 to 21. Jerome Ascano

VIGAN City is ready to roll out the red carpet for the more than 15,000 delegates from the country’s 17 regions expected to converge in the Ilocos Sur capital for the Palarong Pambansa next month.

Department of Education Undersecretary Tonisito Umali made the pronouncement on behalf of the provincial government after personally inspecting the different venues where the various sports events for the April 15-21 meet will be held.

“Vigan is definitely ready. The province hosted a regional qualifier of the Batang Pinoy last year and that shows its readiness to stage a big multi-sports event such as the Palaro,” said Umali during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Tapa King Restaurant at Farmers Market in Cubao on Tuesday.

“We had our final technical conference meeting a couple of weeks ago para tingnan sa huling pagkakataon yung preparation ng lalawigan. And no doubt, the facilities are of international standards. Handang-handa na sila,” said the Deped official.

“Overall, I would say Vigan, Ilocos Sur is definitely ready.”

Umali said DepEd expects around 12,000 official athlete-delegates competing in 21 regular sports events in the secondary level and 15 in the elementary side.

Perennial champion National Capital Region is again favored to win the overall title this year, although Umali noted the emerging rivalry between Calabarzon/Southern Tagalog and Western Visayas regions, which engaged in a close battle for runner-up honors in the 2017 edition of the annual event held in Antique.

In addition, Negros Island Region, which placed fourth last year, has now been made part of Regions 6 (Negros Occidental - Western Visayas) and 7 (Negros Oriental - Central Visayas).

“So we’ll have to see ano ang effect pag ibinalik ulit as Regions 6 and 7 yung Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental,” added Umali in the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Tapa King, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

DepEd will continue to hold the demo sports of pencak silat, aero gymnastics, and dance sports, the same thing with the special Para events in aquatics, track and field, bocce, and goal ball.

With the onset of the summer season, Umali said the Palaro will observe the same practice of not holding games outdoors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“All games to be held during that time are indoor events,” said the government official.

There will also be water dispensers stationed at the different sports venues for both athletes and officials, ambulance, doctors, and nurses are also on standby in both the playing court and billeting quarters, as well as police personnel.

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Umali also said the host province will be providing transportation units for those coming from the Visayas and Mindanao regions which will carry them all the way to Vigan.

“This is the first time the host LGU will shoulder transportation means or cost by providing buses to our athletes from Mindanao and the Visayas coming from a drop-off point lang. And lahat sila dadalhin sa Vigan, Ilocos Sur ng libre,” he said.

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