SAN JOSE, ANTIQUE—Only a minute fraction of the country’s school children has shown interest in sports.
This alarming data have motivated the Department of Education to get more kids into high-level competition through the Palarong Pambansa which kicks off Sunday at the Binirayan Sports Complex.
“We are not attracting enough learners to seriously get into sports,’’ said Department of Education secretary Leonor Briones on the eve of the biggest sports gathering among elementary and high school
“We hope the Palaro will encourage them not only to play these games but to take up sports as a particular specialization and profession in the future,’’
Briones noted that out of the 1.5 million Grade 11 pupils in the country, only 3,175 students want to get involved in sports. Roughly 925,000 are interested in the academic program while 602,000 are looking at technical and livelihood programs upon graduation.
“Sports is an honorable profession because you give glory to the country. I hope more learners go seriously into sports as a lifetime commitment,’’ said Briones, who attended the press conference held at the Kaniugan Garden Restaurant with Antique governor Rhodora Cadiao and DepEd assistant secretary Tonisito Umali.
President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver a talk in the opening ceremony attended by over 7,000 athletes from the country’s 18 regions. They will play in 24 sports for one week with 925 gold medals
“The Palaro has transformed this sleepy and practically unknown province into a hosting machine,’’ said Cadiao. “This is the empowerment of small cities where development will be pushed to the countryside through sports.’’
Former Olympian and Asian Games long jumper Elma Muros-Posadas will receive the Palarong Pambansa Lifetime Achievement Award as one of the top athletes produced by the 60-year-old Games.
With the theme “Palarong Pambansa: Converges Youth Power, Builds Sustainable Future,’’ this year’s Palaro will feature Grade 11 and 12 athletes for the first time after the K to 12 educational program was approved.
Carved out of a hill, the sprawling Binirayan Sports Complex will be a beehive of activity over the next seven days with several young sports heroes expected to make a name for themselves.
Much of the spotlight will be trained on perennial overall champion National Capital Region after the Big City athletes cornered 104 golds, 57 silver and 48 bronzes in handily defeating Southern Tagalog for the plum.