— chris barrientos (@dwizpatrol21) May 5, 2014
STA. CRUZ, Laguna (PNA) – Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Armin Luistro urged Gov. Jeorge Ejercito Estregan to sustain sports development of Laguna after the successful hosting by the province of the 2014 Palarong Pambansa held here from May 4-10.
Luistro made the challenge in his speech during Saturday night’s closing rites of the country’s prestigious school-based competition hosted for the first time by Laguna, birthplace of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal who was himself a sportsman.
”Now that you have successfully hosted the Palarong Pambansa, my challenge to Governor Estregan is to sustain the sports development here in Laguna,” Luistro said.
The DepEd chief commended the governor for the sports facilities, particularly the sprawling 19-hectare Laguna Sports Complex equipped with lighted track oval and football field, covered volleyball court, basketball gymnasium, Olympic-sized swimming pool, archery, pistol and rifle range and baseball and softball field.
Luistro also lauded the provincial government for building a 26-foot monument, the tallest in the world, depicting national hero Dr. Jose Rizal as a sportsman, being an expert in fencing and boxing inside the Laguna Sports Complex.
”To all athletes, don’t leave this place without doing selfie with the tallest monument of Dr. Jose Rizal. It will inspire you to pursue and excel in your chosen field of sports,” Luistro told the 11,200 athletes.
Estregan told the media that a bowling center will be built also inside the complex after the ongoing construction of the athletes’ village which will be used for the hosting “perhaps of the Palarong Pambansa again in the near future.”
”If we can host Palarong Pambansa every year, we will do it. But kidding aside, we really want to become the sports development capital of the Philippines,” Estregan, himself a former athlete, said.
Estregan also revealed his plan to put up a Laguna Sports Academy similar to the Leyte Sports Academy that produced four gold medals in this Palaro, ending Eastern Visayas’ long years of gold medal drought.
With the successful hosting, Luistro believed that Laguna province can discover and develop world-class athletes using the province’s sports facilities at the Laguna sports complex.
”Who knows this sports facilities will make CALABARZON stronger and will be able to beat NCR (National Capital Region) for overall championship in the future Palarong Pambansa,” Luistro said, drawing applause from the crowd.
The NCR emerged as overall champion for the nine straight year, bringing home 107 gold, 64 silver and 56 bronze medals while CALABARZON or Region IV-A comprising Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon provinces finished second overall with 38 golds, 51, silvers and 51 bronzes.
Luistro thanked Laguna province for being one of the best host provinces of the Palarong Pambansa which coincided this year with the celebration of the 4th La Laguna Festival.
”This Palaro is unique. This is Palarong Pambansa where everybody was given roasted calf, mattresses which you can bring in your respective provinces, school bags with souvenir items inside and with clean schools and caring sports officials and principals,” Luistro said.
The best regions in best “saludo” (salute) during the opening parade, most disciplined, most organized and cleanest delegation, received P20,000 each from Estregan.
During the closing rites, Luistro and Estregan led the awarding of the Palaro record breakers which set 19 new records, including five broken by track sensation Jomar Udtohan who equaled Lydia de Vega’s feat in 1982 by breaking the century dash, 200m dash and 400m run.
Udtohan also anchored the NCR team in breaking the Palaro record in the secondary boys’ 4X100m and 4X400m events.
Luistro challenged the athletes to pursue their dreams even if amid defeats as it would bring them success in life.
”Defeat does not mean the end of your journey. Pursue your dreams. All of you are winners here because you’ve reached this far. You will go back to your own places and I hope you will pursue your dreams,” Luistro said.
A total of 11,200 athletes from 17 regions participated in the 57th Palarong Pambansa. (PNA)