ILOCOS SUR, April 23, 2018 – After seven days of intense competitions, the 2018 Palarong Pambansa finally came to a close at the Quirino Stadium in Bantay, Ilocos Sur on April 21.
Present at the closing ceremony were Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary and Palarong Pambansa Secretary-General Tonisito M. C. Umali, Esq., DepEd Undersecretary Lorna Dig-Dino, Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis Singson, Ilocos Sur Vice Governor Jeremias Singson, and Representative of the 1st Legislative District of Makati and taekwondo champion Manuel “Monsour” Del Rosario.
Very pleased with the outcome of the hosting and conduct of this year’s Palaro, Umali was all praises for the management and support of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur.
“For the first time, I would like to say that this is the best Palarong Pambansa in the history of this sporting event. I thank you, Gov. Singson, for the enormous support to our Palarong Pambansa,” Umali shared.
He also encouraged all the student-athletes to be the best not just in their field, but in life as well.
“Aking hinihikayat kayong lahat, samahan ninyo ang ating Ma’am Liling Briones at ang buong Kagawaran sa ating paglalakbay upang makabuo ng isang Filipino na kampeon, na hindi lamang kampeon sa palakasan kung hindi kampeon sa tunay na buhay. Mabuhay ang ating Palarong Pambansa!”
Singson likewise shared how happy he was with the results of the games.
“We have successfully completed the journey, and now we end it by celebrating victories and learned lessons of defeat. Remember, young athletes, that in winning or losing, there are always lessons one can get and these are far more important than any other awards,” the Governor said during his opening message following the parade of delegates.
The closing program also featured special performances by Angeline Quinto, Hashtags, Elha Nympha, and other local bands.
Championship, special awards
Meanwhile, Del Rosario also expressed his congratulations to the province and to DepEd for the success of 2018 Palarong Pambansa, and gave an inspirational message to the athletes as the event’s guest speaker.
“Kayo po ang future ng Philippine sports. Nakikita ko po ang sarili ko sa inyo noon – isang atleta, a faceless person in a crowd of 15,000 athletes. Itong sporting event na ito ay napakahalaga sa ating mga kabataan,” the congressman relayed.
He also shared his belief in three types of education: “Number one na education ay nanggagaling sa ating pamilya, sa ating parents at mga kapatid. Ang pangalawang education ay sa paaralan,nag-aaral tayo to become knowledgeable about many things in life. Ang third education ay ang sports education, ito minsan ay nakalilimutan ng ibang sector pero mahalaga din ito sa mga kabataan, dahil dito nade-develop ang character natin.”
“Dito sa sports, ‘pag nag-compete ka araw-araw ay di ka palaging panalo; minsan ay natatalo rin. Paano mo huhugutin ang sarili mo ‘pag natatalo ka? Ang buhay natin ay parang sports din, sometimes we lose, sometimes we win, but if you have experienced competing in sports, you will know how to handle challenges in life,” he further shared.
The National Capital Region (NCR) once again lorded over the weeklong sporting event, leading the medal tally by a huge margin, with Region IV-A (CALABARZON) and Region VI (Western Visayas) finishing second and third, respectively.
Winners of special awards include: Region X (Northern Mindanao) for the Most Disciplined Delegation; Region IV-B (MIMAROPA) for the Most Organized Delegation and the Cleanest and Greenest Delegation; and Ilocos Sur National High School for the Best Billeting Center.
A special award in partnership with EastWest Bank called I-Produce Results Award 2018 was granted to NCR for garnering the most number of medals in this years’ sporting events.
The top winners received cash prize and trophy, and for the first time in the history of Palaro, winners in all the 21 regular sporting events were awarded with prizes by this year’s sponsors.
Palaro’s many firsts
The 2018 Palaro established not only the unwavering partnership between the Department and the local government, but also its strong linkages with external stakeholders as it has engaged a total of 26 sponsors — the highest recorded in the history of the program — which contributed a great deal to its success.
Nestle MILO served as the official partner of the event while major sponsors included Mogu Mogu and The Mind Museum. Other sponsors were MVP Sports Foundation, Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, TNT, Holcim Foundation, FINIS Philippines, STIX Arnis, KIX Taekwondo, Secondwind, STIGA Table Tennis, KT Tape, Rawlings, Star Sports, Fast Aid, San Miguel Corporation, One Meralco Foundation, Ayala Corporation, Boysen, Petron Corporation, JB Sports, Babolat, Manila Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Adidas Combat Sports.
Likewise, the number of records set this year reached 40 (five in archery, 16 in athletics, and 19 in swimming), the most in Palarong Pambansa history. Aside from a gold medal and cash incentive, each of the record breakers received additional P3,000.
“Aside from the additional incentive, these outstanding athletes will be seeded or given priority to represent the country in the 10th ASEAN School Games that will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,” Umali added.
Championing the spirit, welfare of Filipino athletes
Following an incident involving a DepEd personnel from Cebu City who allegedly made sexual advances to a student-athlete during the Palarong Pambansa, Umali announced the formation of a Child Protection Committee next year.
“In the next Palaro in Davao, we will now have a Child Protection Committee to make sure that this sort of occurrence will never happen again. We will also conduct talks with officiating officials and coaches on how to avoid similar instances in the future,” Umali directed.
The Palarong Pambansa – the Department’s flagship sports program – shall continue to champion the spirit and the welfare of the young Filipino athletes, as it has done so for the past 61 years.