LEGAZPI CITY, April 9 (PNA) -- The Provincial Government of Albay, host to the country’s biggest sporting event held annually by the Department of Education (DepEd), has enforced strict security measures for the safety of more than 20,000 student-athletes from 18 regions now here to compete for the 59th Palarong Pambansa on April 10-16.
Albay Governor Joey Salceda said government forces, medical staff and other necessary personnel have been posted in all billeting areas across the province to look into the safety and welfare of the delegates.
Government assets for land, air and sea are also in place to be used in the event of untoward incidents here while traffic re-routing will also be done on Sunday for the opening parade.
The sport events will be done across the province of Albay.
Starting Friday, the Palaro torch has been carried around Albay by runners from different teams and it will be relayed for three days as a pre-event of the Palarong Pambansa 2016.
The torch relay event is headed by the Jaycees International (JCI) Legazpi.
Engineer Dante Baclao, provincial engineer of Albay, said his office and the Verzontal Builders Inc. constructed the sports facilities in a span of five months, compared with those of other regions which had 18 months of preparations.
“We have worked round the clock to finish the construction of all sports facilities needed. And now these are all ready for the games,” Baclao said.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said this year’s staging of the Palaro will have many “firsts.”
“I want to highlight that this is Albay’s first-ever hosting of the Palaro. This is also the first time that 18 regions will take action—not the usual 17 regions—because of the participation of the Negros Island Region,” Luistro explained.
The Negros Island Region (NIR), which is a newly created region, will compete in the 59th Palarong Pambansa for the first time and is 100-percent ready and confident that its athletes will take center stage in the national sporting competition here.
“Although this is our first time, we will do our best to compete (with the other regions). We are ready and we are vying for the championship,” Gilbert Sadsad, DepEd-NIR regional director, said.
The NIR athletes have undergone a series of training, one of which is the 25-day training from March 1 to March 25.
The region sent 747 official delegates -- including student-athletes, coaches and other regional officials -- of which, 481 are student-athletes.
“We conducted concentration training financed by the local government unit of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and some cities in Negros that also extended financial assistance to the athletes during the training for 25 days,” Sadsad said.
One of the highlights of the Palaro is the special games for children with special needs.
These include athletics, swimming, goal ball, and Bocce – a ball sport closely related to bowling.
Athletes with special needs are given the chance to compete in the games of the Palaro.
Almost all student athletes, trainors and DepEd officials across the country have arrived in Albay province.
Last year, Davao del Norte hosted the 58th Palarong Pambansa wherein record-breaking feats were showcased by a new breed of student-athletes in the swimming and athletics category.
Luzon’s best bets from Central, Southern Tagalog and the National Capital Region towered over the rest of the regions and mightily led way.
NCR athletes dominated the swimming pool with their speed and determination.(PNA) RMA/FGS/RBB/CBD/PJN