BAGUIO and Benguet’s dream of hosting the “Coolest Palaro” in 2018 got dashed after the Palaro Board chose Vigan City during the final presentation on Wednesday afternoon.
Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Benguet Governor Crescencio Pacalso, La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda, and DepEd-Cordillera regional director May Eclar presented the region’s bid to host the largest gathering of student athletes from all over the country.
Following more than 15 minutes of presentation, Vigan City got the nod of the Palaro board as it hosts the national sports competition anew since 1953 and 1973.
“Region I (Vigan City) wins the bid to host the 2018 Palarong Pambansa. We did our best. We presented what we could offer... unfortunately, ‘The Coolest Palaro’ will not happen,” said Ryan Dale Mangusan of the Baguio City Mayor’s office.
Part of the presentation includes traffic, security, playing venues, and billeting.
The Palaro Selection board is chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Education and co-chaired by the Chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) with the education Undersecretaries and regional directors as members.
Bombo Radyo Vigan reported earlier this year that a recent visit of DepEd assistant Secretary Tonisto Umali and Palaro officials has all but confirmed Vigan’s hosting of the country’s biggest sporting event.
The report added although Umali may have not directly stated Ilocos Sur will be host by inspecting the province’s facilities to ensure that Ilocos Sur is capable of hosting the Palaro, provincial officials are confident they have built a solid case, something Palaro officials will definitely not overlook.
During the Palaro in Antique last year, a huge tarpaulin was hung which read: “Welcome to the Heritage Province of Ilocos Sur: The Host of Palarong Pambansa 2018”.
DepEd-Cordillera information officer Georaloy Palao-ay, meanwhile, said Baguio and Benguet could have been an ideal host after garnering the most points in terms of readiness of facilities and billeting centers.
More than the facilities, Palao-ay added it was the commitment of stakeholders that made the big difference.
“It could have been a golden opportunity for our young athletes to compete in a whole new different playing field. It could have been an opportune moment to showcase our vibrant Cordilleran culture as well as reveal to the whole nation how highly competitive the Cordillera Region is in all aspects not only in sports-tourism,” said Palao-ay.
Despite the setback, the three local chief executives accepted the Palaro board’s decision in the spirit of sportsmanship and are planning to bid for the Games again in the future, he added.
The leaders thanked all those who have thrown their all-out support for Baguio and Benguet’s bid like government and private educational institutions, police, media, government agencies, volunteers, utility companies, and many more. (Roderick Osis)