LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — This year’s Palarong Pambansa will fire off Sunday with the elimination round of different games at various playing venues in Lingayen, Binmaley, Calasiao and the cities of Dagupan and San Carlos.
On the eve of the start of the elimination phase, the host province of Pangasinan announced that all the 10,000 athletes from 17 regions of the country have already checked in and are staying in different billeting centers.
It will be the second time in 17 years that the province of Pangasinan is hosting the Palarong Pambansa. The last time it hosted was in 1995, at a time when Fidel V. Ramos, a son of Lingayen, was president of the Philippines.
Though the games begin on Sunday, the formal opening is scheduled on Monday when President Benigno S. Aquino III will address the athletes, coaches and officials, including spectators at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center (NRSCC), main venue of the Palaro, in Lingayen.
President Aquino was personally invited to grace the Palarong Pambansa by education secretary Armin Luistro.
Expected to come with the President are interior and local government secretary Jesse Robredo and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director-general Joel Villanueva, a product of the Palarong Pambansa.
The opening ceremonies will be preceded by the parade of athletes at 7:00 a.m. from the Pangasinan provincial capitol grounds to NRSCC to be completed in time for the opening program at 10:00 a.m.
Security is tight in all the playing venues in Pangasinan and the police is enforcing a total gun ban that started April 27 and will continue up to May 15, even after the Palarong Pambansa slated from May 6 to 12 is already over.
Police Regional Director Franklin Bucayu assured the security of all athletes, coaches, Department of Education officials and all spectators in all the game venues.
Bucayu said that under the total gun ban being enforced, only policemen and other members of law enforcement agencies are allowed to carry their firearms outside their homes provided that they are in proper uniform and must be on official duty.
On the eve of the Palarong Pambansa, Atty. Verna Perez, head of the Palaro Secretariat, reminded that they are showcasing a “green and environmentally-friendly Palaro” that can be made as the benchmark of future events.
This means that cleanliness and sanitation will be strictly enforced in all the playing venues and the billeting centers and that the use of plastic and Styrofoam will be discouraged.
For their own protection, athletes will be barred from swimming in the beaches of Pangasinan throughout the duration of the national games.
For the first time in the history of the Palaro, all games will be brought to the public via live streaming which can be accessed through cellphones and computers.