Several delegates faint due to heat at Palarong Pambansa 2017 opening

PALARO HEAT. Medics carry a delegate from Eastern Visayas after he passed out due to the scorching heat during the Palarong Pambansa 2017 opening at the Binirayan Stadium, Antique. Photo by Mark Rich Pablo/ Palaro Mover,NCR

PALARO HEAT. Medics carry a delegate from Eastern Visayas after he passed out due to the scorching heat during the Palarong Pambansa 2017 opening at the Binirayan Stadium, Antique.

Photo by Mark Rich Pablo/ Palaro Mover,NCR

ANTIQUE, Philippines –  Palarong Pambansa 2017 officially opened on Sunday, April 23, with a grand parade of the delegates from the 18 participating regions at the Binirayan Sports Complex. With the afternoon heat soaring, however, some delegates passed out and had to be given immediate medical attention.

Several athletes and coaches were either given first-aid or rushed to the nearest hospital during the program.

Three delegates from the Negros Island Region passed out due to severe heat and exhaustion. One delegate had to be taken to the hospital. 

Medical officials refused to disclose the total number of individual cases.

The Department of Science and Technology’s Project NOAH estimated the day's temperature to be at around 31.3 degrees Celsius. However, the local heat index tracked by Project NOAH suggests that it went up as high as 34.7 degrees Celsius at around 1:00 pm. 

No water bottles allowed

The Presidential Security Group and the Philippine National Police-Antique enforced stringent security measures for the arrival of President Rodrigo Duterte, including banning of water bottles and containers.

“Sa advise po ng supervisor, sinabihan kaming huwag papasukin dahil sa security hazard,” said P01 Bony Agustin of Antique Provincial Police. (As per our supervisor's advice, we were told to confiscate water bottles because it is a security harzard.)

The opening parade started at around 11 am and the program lasted until around 6:30 pm. Reuben Supena, a delegate from Western Visayas, said that they stayed on the field until the end of the program. 

“Those without umbrellas were asked to take cover because it was too hot on the field but some of us stayed until the end,” Supena told Rappler.

Department of Education Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali, in an earlier press conference, said that they made sure no outdoor events will be scheduled between 12 to 2 pm. 

“Yung nararanasan nating init, kapag dating ng alas-10 hanggang alas-2 ganun parin po ang nakikita naming mangyayari. Wala po talagang paglalaro ng outdoor sports sa bahagi pong iyon," Umali assured. (The heat we’re experiencing from 10 to 2 PM may still continue. There will be no outdoor sports during that period.)

This year’s opening broke away from tradition as delegates came inside the stadium from two entrances unlike the usual snake-like procession. This shortened the entrance process efficiently.

Over 12,000 delegates converged for the opening program and symbolic lighting of torch. (READ: Who are the faces of Palarong Pambansa 2017

The official opening program did not begin until the president’s arrival. Duterte, whose arrival was initially expected at 3 pm, arrived at around 4 pm and left Antique after giving a speech at past 5 pm. – with reports from Jieven Santisteban/ Rappler.com 

Russel Patina is our lead Rappler mover in Iloilo. Jieven Santisteban is our lead Rappler mover in Zamboanga.