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CEBU, Philippines – Vice President Sara Duterte and Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama officially signed a memorandum of agreement for the Palarong Pambansa 2024 on Friday, February 2, solidifying the commitment of the local government and Department of Education (DepEd) in hosting the event in the Queen City.
“The Palarong Pambansa is an integral part of our efforts to strengthen our grassroots sports programs, granting various opportunities for sports-inclined youth and exposing them to real-life experiences in their chosen sports,” Duterte said in a speech during the MOA signing.
Vice President Sara Duterte and Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama sign an agreement for the hosting of the 2024 Palarong Pambansa.— John Sitchon (@TheJohnSitchon) February 2, 2024
Cebu City first hosted the grand sports event in 1954 and then, for the second time in 1994. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/c1qEORPZje
This is the third time that Cebu City will be hosting the grand sports event — the first hosting was in 1954 and later, in 1994. According to Duterte, this is the 64th edition of the Palarong Pambansa since it started in 1948.
Marikina City hosted last year’s Palarong Pambansa from July to August.
DepEd Assistant Secretary Francis Bringas, however, said there’s “no final date yet” for this year’s edition.
“[We] still have ongoing consultations for the school calendar and we will have to wait for the approved school calendar if there is going to be one,” said Bringas.
Last August, Cebu City Sports Commission chairperson John Pages shared they’re expecting at least 12,000 athletes and 25,000 visitors from all over the country to join the Palarong Pambansa 2024.
During a press conference on Friday morning, Pages announced that around 20 schools in the city will be used as billeting quarters for the athletes who will be coming to Cebu City.
“What we’re focusing on right now is the rehabilitation of our facilities, our swimming pool, our track oval will be all new and we are very blessed in Cebu City to have a lot of universities and malls that we are partnering with as venues,” the sports commission chair said.
Currently, the Cebu City Sports Center, where a majority of the sports events are held, is completing its final renovations and will be open this April.
Learning from 2023
Bringas mentioned during the press conference that the Palarong Pambansa secretariat and committees will be making adjustments based on their takeaways from the event hosting in Marikina City.
Last year, heavy rainfall caused by Typhoon Falcon threatened the conduct of multiple games as it opened on July 31. The event concluded with the National Capital Region claiming its 16th overall Palarong Pambansa championship.
“We will be activating not only our disaster city control management services but also our school health personnel not only in Cebu City but also nearby locations to ensure we have adequate health human resources,” DepEd Assistant Secretary Dexter Galban said.
Pages stated that 70 percent of the sports events are indoor activities and that the city will be utilizing venues like indoor tennis courts to address weather concerns.
The city sports commission has identified three main “zones” where the events will be held. These include areas in the South Road Properties, downtown Cebu, and the city’s northern district.
Budget and changes
According to Cebu City Councilor Dondon Hontiveros, the city council approved a budget allocation worth P200 million to assist the sports commission’s undertaking for the Palaro hosting.
The budget includes items for the renovation of sports facilities, construction of billeting quarters, and procurement of sports equipment necessary for the games.
Bringas assured the athletes that there will be financial support for students who will come from the school division offices of the participating regions.
“We will be expecting our learners to experience playing in world-class facilities,” Bringas said.
The DepEd assistant secretary also shared that they will be discarding the pre-qualifying meet which was introduced in the previous year due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were still in a public health emergency last year so we had to consider reducing the number of delegates per region in the national (Palarong Pambansa),” Bringas added. – Rappler.com