AS the 63rd edition of the Palarong Pambansa officially started in Marikina City, Mayor Marcelino “Marcy” R. Teodoro called for a sustainable national sports program to help young Filipino athletes achieve their full potential.
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., Vice President Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio, and Teodoro led the opening of the Palaro at the Marikina Sports Center on Monday, July 31.
“Nais natin ng isang national sports program na sustainable at para sa kabataang Pilipino,” the mayor said in his speech.
According to Mayor Teodoro, the heavy rains in the past few days did not dampen the spirits of delegates. They even braved the downpour during the Palaro’s grand parade.
“Sa kabila ng malakas at patuloy na pag-ulan nitong mga nakaraang araw, tulad sa mga pagsubok sa ating bansa; tayo ay narito pa rin na may pag-asa, may kalakasan, para sa isang maunlad at matatag na bansa,” he said.
The mayor noted that the Palaro 2023 has brought together student-athletes from the 17 regions in a show of unity as one nation.
“Ito ay pagkakataon na maglaro ng sama-sama. Isang bansa, isang laro sa Pambansang Palaro. Lahat ay magaling; lahat ay may bahagi; lahat ay may pagtataya sa isa’t isa sa pagpapalakas at pagpapatatag ng ating bansa,” said Mayor Teodoro.
Meanwhile, President Marcos assured that the government remains steadfast in developing the prowess of young Filipino athletes and in championing their well-being.
“With consistent and diligent efforts, I am confident that they will eventually bring glory to our nation not only in the field of sports, but also in other endeavors that they will choose to pursue.”
President Marcos also called on LGUs to encourage greater school participation in sports competitions and help motivate more students to engage in physical activities so they will learn the significance of grit and resilience in the realization of their goals.
And to the student-athletes, coaches, and trainers, the President said: “Your dedication to sports is both inspiring and remarkable.
You serve as examples of excellence, integrity and sportsmanship by showing to your peers and your fellow Filipinos the result of your discipline, your training, your hard work, and the many sacrifices you had to make to make it here.
The Palaro 2023 is anchored by the theme: “Batang Malakas, Bansang Matatag.”
The Palaro’s opening ceremony commenced with a parade of student-athletes, starting from the Marikina River Park to the Marikina Sports Center.
After all delegates converged at the MSC, the program proper kicked off with the Oath of Sportsmanship led by Alyssa Valdez followed by the Oath of Officiating Officials led by Jonathan Oscar Jimenez, boxing tournament director.
Volleyball player Bea de Leon, and basketball player Mark Barroca led the lighting of the Palaro Friendship Cauldron, together with the team captains representing the 17 participating regions in this year’s national games.
During the opening program, 1,000 pigeons were released to symbolize Palaro’s call for peace and unity.
The opening ceremony also featured the Atletang Pilipino Field Demonstration and the Unity Dance. The program concluded with a pyro-musical display.
The official opening marks the start of the game proper which will run from August 1 to 5.