Western Visayas meet opens today

THE Western Visayas Regional Athletic Association (WVRAA) meet, which is meant to serve as a dry run for the province’s hosting of the annual school-based competition next year, opens today, Monday.

“Negros Occidental will definitely bid for the hosting of the 2013 Palarong Pambansa. The WVRAA will serve as our dry run so that we can perfect the hosting of the event next year,” Department of Education (DepEd) Regional Director Mildred L. Garay said Sunday.

“The WVRAA should showcase our capability to handle the 2013 Palarong Pambansa,” she said.

The WVRAA’s opening program will start around 4 p.m. Monday at the main venue, the Panaad Park and Sports Complex at Mansilingan, Bacolod City.

Governors and top provincial officials as well as DepEd officials in Western Visayas are expected to attend the ceremonies, which will be capped by a fireworks display and performances of some festival dances by select local government units in Negros Occidental.

Garay said last year, DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro introduced new guidelines on the awarding of the Palarong Pambansa hosting.

“Previously, the stress was on the amenities which the host province can offer. Now the priority is on the international standards quality of the sports facilities,” she said.

“In the past, a province bids for the Palaro hosting to get DepEd funds to develop its sports facilities. Now a province must have international standards sports facilities before it can bid for the Palaro hosting,” Negros Occidental Executive Assistant Angel Verdeflor said.

He said the province has the facilities to host the event, citing the hosting by the province of some international sports events in the past.

Bacolod City and Negros Occidental have played host to some disciplines of the Southeast Asian Games, a couple of games of the Asian Football Confederation Cup, the successful world title bid of hometown boxing hero Donnie Nietes and baseball and softball tournaments.

“We have hosted international sports events. There is no reason we cannot host national sports events,” Verdeflor said.

“Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Richie Garcia pledged to support our bid for the hosting of the 2013 Palarong Pambansa,” Verdeflor added.

He said PSC is deeply involved in the selection of the host province because it is the PSC that conducts the evaluation of the aspiring province’s sports facilities.

“Governor (Alfredo) Marañon wants to enliven sports so that our youth can have the opportunity to showcase their talents and skills,” Verdeflor said.

“We are excited to see and discover our students with athletic prowess who might someday become the next Manny Pacquiao or Donnie Nietes,” Garay said.

Garay also said the budget for the WVRAA is approximately P19.5 million. P10 million was allocated for the athletes’ uniform and food and another P5 million was spent for the upgrading of sports venues, she said.

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