THOUSANDS of athletes from the elementary and secondary divisions will converge in the scenic province of Albay from April 10 to 16 for the staging of this year’s Palarong Pambansa.
Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali of the Department of Education said everything is set for this year’s Palaro that is expected to attract athletes from the country’s 18 regions.
According to Umali, a total of 21 events, including four demonstration sports, will stake a little over 200 gold medals in seven days of competition.
Umali represented Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey’s Malate. Joining him were Cesar Abalon, head of DepEd’s sports events and activity unit, and Milo-Nestle Philippines officials Andrew Neri and Robie de Vera.
It’s the first time Albay, under Gov. Joey Salceda, is hosting the Palaro.
“We expect records to be broken this year. But more than the medals at stake, the Palaro is also about discipline among the participants and cleanliness in our environment,” said Umali in the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Accel, Shakey’s, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
Events on tap are archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, chess, football, gymnastics, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis and volleyball.
In their third year as demonstration sports in the Palaro are billiards, futsal, wrestling and wushu.
Umali said after this year’s staging, the Palaro board will convene and determine whether these events can be included as regular events starting next year.
Abalon said the province of Albay is putting its best foot forward and is making sure that all athletes and officials will be taken cared of, particularly their safety and convenience.
Neri said Milo and Nestle are very thankful to be part of this year’s Palaro.
“It’s part of Milo’s commitment to intensity our support to grassroots sports development and encourage more children to get into sports,” he said.
“We want to bring back the value among the children to get into sports and become productive members of the society. The Palarong Pambansa is part of our commitment,” Neri added.
De Vera said Milo is supporting the Palaro logistically and by providing technical people to run the events.
“We also hope to identify athletes to serve as role models,” said De Vera.