MANILA, Philippines - Department of Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro, FSC, and Negros Oriental Gov. Ruel Degamo will sign a memorandum of understanding tomorrow to confirm arrangements for Dumaguete to host the Palarong Pambansa on April 21-27.
Some 10,000 athletes, coaches, officials, school representatives and parents are expected to attend the competitions where the host city has booked billeting facilities within a 6 to 10 kilometer radius of the playing venues.
Br. Armin and Degamo will be joined in the 1 p.m. signing rites at the Bulwagan Ng Karunungan of the DepEd Central Office in Pasig by Undersecretary Rizalino Rivera, Assistant Secretary and Palaro secretary-general Tonisito Umali, Vice Gov. Apolinario Arnaiz Jr., Dumaguete City Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria, DepEd Region 7 director Carmelita Dulangon, DepEd regional Physical Education and School Sports chief Vivian Ginete, Negros Oriental provincial administrator Jose Arnel Francisco, DepEd School Sports Events and Activities Unit head and Palaro deputy secretary-general Cesar Abalon and Palaro assistant to the deputy secretary-general Francis de la Cruz.
The national government has allocated a P200 Million budget for the Palaro through the DepEd with Negros Oriental pitching in an additional P10 Million as first-time host.
Negros Oriental won the staging rights via an 11-7-1 vote over Negros Occidental by the Palaro Board made up of Br. Armin as chairman and DepEd officials and regional directors as members.
The voting was held after representatives of both provinces made presentations of their proposals before the Board last October.
Negros Occidental has hosted four stagings of the annual multi-sport conclave since the Bureau of Public Schools-Interscholastic Athletic Association Games became the Palarong Pambansa in 1974.
The Bureau held its first competitions in 1948. Bacolod hosted the Palaro in 1974, 1979, 1998 and 2000.
“The host city will take care of providing the game facilities, billeting, security, opening and closing ceremonies and coordination with the DepEd regional officials,” said Abalon. “We are estimating a delegation of about 495 for each region with parents and relatives of athletes adding to the visiting population.”
Abalon said there will be 17 regular sports in the Palaro calendar – archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, chess, football, gymnastics, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis and volleyball.
Also in the calendar are demonstration sports futsal, billiards and wushu.
Abalon said a technical meeting will be held in Dumaguete on March 8 involving DepEd, host officials and sports consultants from the Philippine Sports Commission to inspect the facilities and decide on final details of the competition schedule.
“We usually don’t schedule competitions from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to avoid athletes being exposed to heatstroke but if there are games in indoor venues, we’ll reconsider depending on the circumstances,” said Abalon.
The working interim theme for the Palaro is “Sport: Road for Peace and Progress” with the final decision to be made after consulting with the host province.
“Br. Armin is very keen on fostering peace and goodwill through sports, particularly with our Muslim brothers in Mindanao,” said Abalon. “We are excited to bring together athletes from all our 17 regions to participate in the spirit of friendly competition.”
Abalon said in the memorandum of understanding, the host province will commit to provide 40 classrooms for every delegation, sleeping quarters for every 15 delegates, a comfort room for every 25, 15 40-kilo sacks of rice, 100 kilos of pork, 100 kilos of chicken, 100 kilos of fish, 100 36-piece trays of eggs, 520 sachets of Milo energy drink, 50 kilos of sugar, 150 gallons of bottled mineral water and in-land transportation.
Mobilizing resources to host the Palaro is no easy task considering that the Olympics takes in about 10,500 athletes.
Dumaguete will welcome over 10,000 visitors for the coming Palaro but Gov. Degamo is optimistic the city is well-equipped to manage the stay for the seven-day event.
The main venue for the Palaro is the 5,000-seat Lamberto Macias Sports Center where WBO lightflyweight champion Donnie Nietes once fought and the PBA holds games.