Philippine economy

Duterte to Palaro athletes: ‘This is the start of your role in nation-building’

Camille Elemia
Duterte to Palaro athletes: ‘This is the start of your role in nation-building’
President Rodrigo Duterte calls on Palarong Pambansa 2018 delegates to 'embody values' and 'enhance skills,' as the Philippines' largest sporting event opens in Ilocos Sur

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte led the opening of the Palarong Pambansa 2018, where he called on student-athletes to do their best as it is just the start of their role in nation-building.

It is Duterte’s second time to lead the opening of the national sporting event, which is being held in Ilocos Sur this year. (IN PHOTOS: The colorful parade at Palarong Pambansa 2018)

“The [Palarong Pambansa] serves as a training ground for future leaders and nation builders, whose values and principles are founded on perseverance, discipline, teamwork, integrity, and love of country,” Duterte said in his speech on Sunday, April 15.

“To student-athletes, congratulations. The fact you’re here today is enough proof of your determination and excellence in [your] chosen sports…. that makes all of you winners and champions already,” he added.

Duterte told the students that being a delegate is just one of the many “firsts” in their journey toward success. He encouraged them to enhance their skills for their future role in building the nation.

“Embody values, enhance skills, for this is the beginning of your greater participation in nation-building. I look forward to your most significant contributions to society in the days to come,” the President said.

Duterte also emphasized the importance of involving the youth in sports to “divert” them from illegal drugs and criminality.

At the same time, he called on students to “balance” their academics and sports, saying this would help them develop the necessary skills for “multitasking, time management, and decision-making.”

In his speech, Duterte also thanked the province of Ilocos Sur, which is celebrating its bicentennial anniversary, for hosting the largest sporting event in the Philippines for the 3rd time.

Elimination games will be held from April 16 to 19, while the semifinals and finals for various sports are set for April 20. The awarding and closing ceremonies will happen on April 21. –

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email