DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Despite the brief rain shower on Sunday afternoon of April 28, the 2019 Palarong Pambansa opening ceremony pushed through with around 18,000 delegates across the country welcomed at the University of the Philippines Mindanao Sports Complex in Davao City.
After 69 years, the city again hosted the annual multi-sport event with this year’s theme “Shaping the Future through Sports”
From April 29-May 4, student athletes from 17 regions will battle it out in 36 sporting events to be held in 26 venues in Davao City.
Tight security measures were implemented as the Sports Complex were filled with student athletes, coaches, staff, parents, technical officials, and visitors during the opening ceremony.
The program was led by officials including Education Secretary Leonor Briones, City Administrator Atty Zuleika Lopez, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles and many others.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio was not present during the opening ceremony, but left a video message giving her reminders to all the student athletes to participate in the Palaro.
She reminded the athletes to prioritize their health first and not to force themselves to compete if they are not in good health.
Duterte-Carpio also stressed the importance of learning the virtues of discipline and sportsmanship.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte arrived in Davao City to grace the program later in the afternoon, coming from his trip in Beijing.
The president viewed sports as an effective avenue “to instill among the youth essential characteristics for nation-building such as discipline, teamwork, and perseverance.”
He assured that the government will continue to support sports programs for Filipino athletes.
Here are some photos of the Palarong Pambansa opening ceremony.