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PUERTO PRINCESA: The Department of Education’s budget for this year’s Palarong Pambansa nearly reached a hundred million.
DepEd will be shelling out P89.2 million for the games proper alone. Add that to the P9.5 million for the transportation and accommodation expenses of the participating regions and the grand total will be P98.7 million.
It’s a 42 percent increase from last year’s budget of P69.3 million.
The games will start on Sunday at the newly-refurbished Ramon V. Mitra Jr. Sports Complex in Ba­rangay Sta. Monica.
Education secretary Jesli Lapus wants to make sure that those figures will no go to waste.
“We issued a general technical guidelines to ensure that the Palaro will run smoothly,” Lapus said.
He added that sports and health authorities, with the help non-government organizations, would take closer watch on safety and health of the athletes to prevent a repetition of last year’s tragedies at the games held in Koronadal City in South Cotabato.
During last year’s games, scores of athletes and officials were stricken by heatstroke, two of them fatally – Carlos Mingie del Prado, principal of Marinduque High School, who had a heart attack due to prolonged exposure to the heat, and Edwin Golmatico, a teacher from Koronodal High School.
As to the conduct of the games, the DepEd has formed a National Screening and Accreditation Committee to look into the eligibility of athletes for the Palaro and give accreditation to qualified athletes and coaches.
Palaro screening committee chairman Leo Pacala said they have already implemented the new guidelines, which does not only required the signature of coaches but also the registrar, principal, PESS supervisor and division superintendent in the athletes record.
“There are more authorities who have to certify the athlete’s eligibility now. Before, it was only the coach and physical education instructor. Even the superintendent will have to certify the athlete’s eligibility,” Pacala said.
A total of 9,520 athletes from 17 regions throughout the country are vying for supremacy in 17 sports disciplines in the high school competition and 14 in the elementary level.
The host city spent some P50 million in the rehabilitation of the facilities, venues and billeting centers and another P10 million for the operation of the multi-event meet.
Other supporters of the competition were the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
The medal-rich athletics will be held at the sprawling 16-hectare RVMJ complex, badminton at the nearby Power Zone Training and Recreation Center, baseball at the 570th Composite Tactical Wing grounds, basketball at the Paleco Covered Court, chess at the Palawan State University, football at the PSU grounds, gymnastics at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum, sepak-takraw at the People’s Amphitheater, softball at the Palawan National School ground, swimming at the RVMJ Aquatic Center, volleyball at the Baptist Covered Court and lawn tennis at the Air Force court.
By: Frank Calapre And James Konstantin Galvez

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