BANTAY, Ilocos Sur — President Duterte assured participants of the 2018 Palarong Pambansa that the government will continue to promote physical education and sports among the youth.
Speaking during the opening of the Palaro at the President Elpidio Quirino Stadium, Duterte said sports and physical education must be supported to keep the youth away from a life of drugs.
“The government remains steadfast in promoting physical education, encouraging sports programs and supporting athletes especially as they compete in international events,” said Duterte.
“For sports is an avenue to divert from illegal drugs, criminality, and all the lawless acts,” he added.
Duterte took time off from his busy schedule to formally declare the 61st edition of the Palarong Pambansa open, congratulating athletes from 17 regions who made it to the annual showpiece.
“To the student-athletes who have flown all the way from their provinces to compete and represent their respective schools and regions, congratulations. The fact that you’re here today is enough proof that determination and excellence in your chosen sports that makes all of you winners and champions already,” said Duterte.
Duterte also lauded the ability of the student-athletes to balance studies and sports.
“Your ability to balance academics and your other interest measure your attitude such as multi-tasking, time management, and decision-making — skills that you will need as you take on greater responsibilities in the future,” said Duterte.
Duterte also congratulated the parents and encouraged them to support their children's sports pursuits.
“Support them as they discover themselves and explore the limitless possibilities of their growth and development,” said Duterte.
The opening ceremony featured the usual parade of athletes from 17 regions with Ilocos Region, as host, being the last to be called out.
Philippine sports icons Rafael ‘Paeng’ Nepomuceno, Eugene Torre, Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes, Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco, Elma Muros-Posadas, Hidilyn Diaz, and Gab Moreno carried the country’s flag during the marchpast while Bituin Escalante sang the national anthem.
Moreno, a gold medalist in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in archery, shot an arrow to a target to lit the cauldron of the Palaro.