DUMAGUETE CITY – The 2nd POC-PSC Philippine National Games (PNG) officially start Friday with a simple opening ceremony here at the Freedom Park.
The host city welcomes more than 4,000 athletes that will compete in 24 sports calendared here in the City of the Gentle People.
Dumaguete City Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria and Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo will lead the opening rites to be attended also by POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, Jr. and PSC chairman Ricardo Garcia.
Competition in billiards also begins at the Convention Center although the field has little glitter with big names Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes, Francisco ‘Django’ Bustamante, Dennis Orcollo, Iris Ranola and Rubilen Amit.
The big names in pool are currently abroad competing in different tournaments.
Sagarbarria said Dumaguete City is ready to host the 2nd PNG despite being struck by two natural calamities months before the competition.
“We are ready to host the Philippine National Games. We want to show the world that we can go back to our feet,” he said.
The province was devastated by Typhoon Sendong last December and a power 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the city early this year.
But Degamo and Sagarbarria wanted to push through with the hosting to show they have recovered from those calamities.
Garcia said unlike last year where athletes were represented by their clubs, this year they will carry the name of their local government units (LGUs).
He added that national athletes are mandatory to compete in this annual tournament that aims to find fresh talents for the national team.
A total of 38 events are in the calendar of this year’s PNG with 14 of them being spread out in satellite venues.
Laguna is the host in canoe-kayak, dragon boat and taekwondo, motorcycle sports in Paranaque, baseball, diving, boxing, soft tennis and gymnastics in Manila, bowling in Sta. Lucia Grand Mall, fencing in Pasig City and shooting and wall climbing in Taguig City.