Lingayen, Pangasinan — It is in this competition where raw talents are honed, where the country’s sports heroes first carved their own niche before making it big in international competitions, giving honor and glory to the country.
President Simeon Benigno Aquino III enumerated the importance of the annual Palarong Pambansa to some 10,000 athletes and officials who braved the searing heat of the sun in the formal opening of this year’s multi-sporting event yesterday at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center, here.
Aquino reminded the athletes from the country’s 17 regions that competing in the Palaro is something to be proud of since most of the country’s popular athletes came from this national meet.
“Mahigit anim na dekada na nga pong nagbibigay-daan ang Palarong Pambansa para malinang ang kakayahan ng ating mga atleta para sa mga lokal na kompetisyon. Ito rin ang nagsisilbing lunsaran ng ating pagtuklas sa mga kabataang Pilipinong magdadala ng karangalan sa bansa sa mga pandaigdigang entablado. Dito nga po sa Palarong Pambansa unang ipinunla ang mga alamat nina Lydia de Vega at Elma Muros para sa athletics, Danny Ildefonso at Marlou Aquino para sa basketball; Susan Papa at Eric Buhain sa swimming; at Chiefy Caligdong at Kristopher Camcam ng Azkals para naman sa football,” said Aquino.
HARD WORK, DEDICATION
The president pointed out that champions are not made overnight as it takes hardwork and dedication to succeed.
“Mulat po tayong lahat: tulad nila, hindi lamang kayo bumangon isang umaga, at natuklasang kayo na ang pinakamahuhusay sa larangan na inyong kinabibilangan. Namuhunan kayo ng pawis at panahon; nagsakripisyo kayo para marating ang puntong ito. Alam kong hindi biro ang pagbabalanse sa paglalaro, at sa pagbabasa ng libro sa ekswela. Mulat akong may mga oras na kinakailangan ninyong isakripisyo ang panahon sa pamilya at mga kaibigan, para lang makatutok sa inyong kasanayan,” Aquino said.
Aquino added: “Pero tulad nga po ng kasabihan ng mga matatanda: “Kung may tiyaga, may nilaga.” Tagumpay ang bunga ng pagtatambal ng talento at pagsisikap. Kayo ang nagpapatotoo: walang pinanganak na kampeon—ang mga tropeo’t medalya ay nakakamit mula sa disiplina at puspusang dedikasyon. “
Aquino said his administration supports various programs meant to develop more talents.
He said the Department of Education (DepEd) allotted P200 million to ensure the success of this year’s Palaro.
Aquino said the 2011-2016 Philippine Sports Roadmap of the Philippine Sports Commission is already in place.
One of the programs is the so-called “focus sports policy” which will focus on the improvement of several sports such as boxing, taekwondo, athletics, swimming, wushu, archery, wrestling, bowling, weightlifting and billiards.
Also included in the government’s health and sports programs are the inmates, persons with disabilities (PWDs) and the youth.
“Nitong taong 2011, muli na po nating nailunsad ang Batang Pinoy, isang programang naka-sentro sa paghuhubog sa kaugalian ng mga kabataan sa pamamagitan ng sports at iba pang mga laro. Ibabalik din po natin ang Philippine National Games bilang national try-out para sa mga atleta natin mula sa grassroots level—upang mabigyan sila ng pagkakataong makalaro sa Philippine team. Gaganapin po ang susunod na paligsahan sa Dumaguete City sa buwan ding ito,” said Aquino.
Aquino said half a million pesos were set aside as funds for the PWDs who compete in various sporting events.
The president said close to 8,000 inmates across the country are given regular programs to protect their health.
To end his speech, Aquino reminded the athletes that good values should be learned out of joining the Palaro.
“Pagkatapos ng kompetisyon, ito sana ang maging bitbit ninyong pabaon—hindi natatapos ang laban sa tunog ng pito, sa hudyat ng batingaw, o pagtapak sa Finish Line. Paglabas ninyo sa basketball court, sa swimming pool, o sa boxing ring, marami pang pagsubok sa tunay na buhay at kalakhang lipunan ang darating. Nawa’y gamitin ninyo ang lahat ng inyong natutuhan dito sa pagdaig sa mga hamong humaharap sa ating bayan. “
Organizers did away with the usual set-up where the opening is held late in the afternoon when the sun is not at its hottest. The set-up didn’t sit well with some athletes.
“It was terrible. It was not a good idea holding the opening ceremony in the morning,” said a sports official who asked not to be named.
The opening started around 9 a.m. and ended shortly before noon.
Aside from Aquino, the opening salvo was graced by DepEd Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, Philippine Sports Commission chairman Ritchie Garcia, Philippine Olympic Committee chairman Peping Cojuangco, former President Fidel Ramos and former Senator Ernesto Maceda.
Ildefonso, a two-time Most Valuable Player in the PBA and a native of Urdaneta, Pangasinan, led the lighting of urn.
A few games were held yesterday with Region 7 getting its second bronze courtesy of the elementary rhythmic gymnastics team composed of Marianne Alegado, Eunice Odag and AJ Melgar.
Region 7’s only other medal was produced by Aldrin Agang, who had a bronze finish in the 5,000-meter run last Sunday.
The secondary football team started its bid with an 8-0 blanking of the Northern Mindanao Athletic Association. Keen Agot accounted for four goals, Jay Arizabal had three while Chino Dela Calzada had one.
Games resume today in various venues in Pangasinan, which is hosting the Palaro for the second time since 1995.