By Mar Supnad
VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur — All roads lead to Ilocos Sur province for the Palarong Pambansa 2018 which started today and will run until April 21.
The weeklong national sports event, which is attended by 17 regions, is jointly organized by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the host province of Ilocos Sur.
“It’s all systems go for this year’s Palarong Pambansa,” DepEd Secretary Leonor M. Briones told the Philippine Information Agency local media here.
The education secretary assured that all requirements for the sports event have been finalized since last week from the billeting schools to the conduct of the various competitions.
On Friday morning, a dry run for the formal opening ceremony on April 15 was held at the Quirino Stadium in Bantay town where most of the sports competition will be held.
She also confirmed that President Duterte, along with other key government officials, will attend the formal opening program.
While Palarong Pambansa is a sports event, it is also an avenue to make the delegates especially the children appreciate culture, arts and history.
Exhibits on Philippine and World Heritage Sites and the Gallery of Palarong Pambansa athletes were opened through a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Briones and Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis Singson at the Vigan City Convention Center yesterday.
Briones informed that the exhibits go around the country and DepEd decided to put them up in Ilocos Sur in time for the Palarong Pambansa.
“In between the sports activities, the children would take time to know, as part of their learning process, the Philippine history, about the ASEAN region, and the Palarong Pambansa champions,” Briones said.
The exhibits are open until the end of the national sports competition on April 21.
For his part, Singson vowed that the provincial government will do its best to host the 15,000 delegates for the largest sporting event in the Philippines.
He likewise thanked the DepEd for the trust it has given the province “to make history in hosting for the very first time the Palarong Pambansa.”
“We will make sure na hindi po kayo nagkamali sa pagpili sa aming probinsiya,” Singson addressed Briones in his speech, sharing his hope that one day an Ilocano would be part of the Gallery of Palarong Pambansa exhibit.
Briones, in her reply, assured that Ilocos Sur’s win in the bidding process was “fair and square” and that the province had the highest score in terms of the criteria set particularly in its ability to accommodate the student-athletes and the needs of each sporting event.
Since last week of March, delegates started to arrive in Ilocos Sur to prepare for the prestigious sporting event.