Palaro opens Monday in PangasinanBy Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Education will kick off on Monday this year’s Palarong Pambansa in Lingayen, Pangasinan, with President Benigno Aquino III gracing the event for the first time in his presidency.
Education Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali said Saturday that Mr. Aquino has confirmed his attendance at the 2012 Palarong Pambansa opening ceremonies at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center.
Several competitions, however, were slated to get underway Sunday at various venues around Pangasinan, ahead of the formal opening.
“Right now, members of the Presidential Management Staff and the Presidential Security Group are making arrangements. It’s very good; rarely do presidents attend the opening ceremonies of Palarong Pambansa,” said Umali, contacted by phone in Pangasinan on Saturday.
Other government officials are expected to attend the opening ceremonies, among them Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara and Technical Education Director General Joel Villanueva, whom Aquino recently endorsed as among his senatorial bets in next year’s elections.
Umali said that while many politicians and personalities have confirmed their attendance, only three speakers will take the stage on opening day: host province Pangasinan’s governor, Amado Espino, Education Secretary Armin Luistro and President Aquino.
Some 10,000 students, coaches and sports officials from public and private elementary and high schools across the country are expected to participate in this year’s Palaro, annual games held to promote sportsmanship and camaraderie among students and to train the next generation of Filipino athletes.
DepEd said the provincial government already has security and emergency response measures in place for the weeklong sports event.
“We are confident to say that all necessary arrangements have been secured to make this year’s Palaro truly remarkable and successful,” Luistro said in a statement.
DepEd and the Pangasinan local government also launched a Web site for this year’s Palaro, promising to make the 2012 event “the most digital” in history.
The Web site palarongpambansa2012.com will feature separate channels for 17 sports categories to stream the events online, both real-time and replays.