The province of Catanduanes wants to host the Palarong Bicol for the second straight year in 2014, in time for the completion of improvement projects on the athletic complex.
Congressman Cesar Sarmiento expressed the province’s desire to continue the hosting of the regional sports competition in his keynote address during the opening of the meet last Saturday afternoon. He was seconded by Governor Joseph Cua and DepEd Catanduanes division officer-in-charge Dr. Jose Doncillo.
The solon told the Tribune earlier that it would be preferable for the province to host the meet so that Catanduanes athletes, as well as their competitors from the 12 other divisions, would be able to utilize the proposed rubberized track and other improvements to be installed in the coming months. He also stated that this would likewise prepare the province in deciding to bid for the privilege of hosting the Palarong Pambansa either in 2015 or 2016.
Describing the games as a showcase of Bicolandia’s best, Sarmiento also urged the 6,566 athletes, coaches, trainers and delegation officials, as well as thousands of visitors and locals watching the opening program, to support President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and his team especially in making sure that funding for the development of Bicol is available.
Both the congressman and Gov. Cua trumpeted the numerous projects being undertaken on the island since 2010 and pointed to the visible changes in its infrastructure as well as in the business sector that augurs well for the economic development of Catanduanes.
On the other hand, Dr. Ofelia Samar-Sy of the EDSA People Power Commission lauded Bicolanos for expressing their oneness with the rest of the Filipino people in celebrating the peaceful revolution 27 years ago through the staging of the “Salubungan” during the opening parade of the Palaro. She reminded the people to continue keeping alive within them the spirit of EDSA and its promise of change.
The five-hour ceremony was attended by local officials and personalities from the region, including Naga City Mayor John Bongat, Legaspi City Mayor Geraldine Rosal and her former mayor husband Noel, AKO Bicol partlylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr., ACT partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio, Bishop Manolo delos Santos, Catanduanes PNP Director Eduardo Chavez, and DepEd officials from the 13 divisions. Albay Governor Joey Salceda and Sorsogon Governor Raul Lee arrived the following day to visit their respective delegations and join the welcome night for delegation officials at the town plaza.
DepEd regional director Orfelina Tuy declared the games open while Gov. Cua and Cong. Sarmiento lit the games’ torch. A mass demonstration by Catanduanes State University’s Hablon Dawani and 1,500 students of the Catanduanes National High School wowed the crowd as well as the athletes and delegation officials who were dressed in rainbow colors representing their respective divisions. The day was capped by Rico Blanco’s concert at Plaza Rizal courtesy of Cong. Sarmiento.