ABOUT 2,000 delegates gathered to compete for the first Cluster 4 Pre-National Qualifying Meet of the Palarong Pambansa.

On Sunday, June 4, 2023, despite heavy rains, same as the Davao Region qualifiers, athletes from five regions in Mindanao met to start the selection process for the Palarong Pambansa that will run from June 4 to 9, 2023 at the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex, Tagum City.

Five regions of Cluster 4 are composed of; Northern Mindanao; Davao Region; South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos (Soccksargen); Caraga Administrative Region; and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm).

According to the Department of Education (DepEd), the Pre-National Qualifying Meet “to lessen the number of delegations, shorten the duration of the event, and lower the expenses to be incurred—all without sacrificing the level of play.”

The pre-national qualifying meet will only feature the following team sports; baseball, basketball, football, futsal, sepak takraw, football, and volleyball.

DepEd said top two regional delegations of each cluster will advance to the actual Palarong Pambansa event on July 29 to August 5, 2023.

Meanwhile, Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib encouraged the athletes, coaches and visitors to also appreciate the beauty of the province.

“As you embark on this journey of intense competition and strive to secure your place in the Palarong Pambansa, we encourage you to immerse yourselves fully in the beauty of our surroundings and the warmth of our people. Davao del Norte stands ready to open its arms and hearts to all contingents, providing you with an unforgettable experience,” Jubahib said during his opening message.

“The importance of representing your respective regions cannot be overstated. You are the embodiment of the solid sports athletes that Mindanao takes immense pride in. Each one of you holds the key to unlocking the potential and talent that permeates our land. Your dedication, hard work, and unwavering spirit are an inspiration to us all,” he added.

Jubahib said that the event will not only showcase physical abilities “but also a chance to demonstrate the qualities that make us better individuals. It is through this lens of sportsmanship that we can foster an atmosphere of mutual respect, fairness, and camaraderie.”

“Mindanao, with its rich tapestry of diverse cultures and traditions, is a testament to the beauty of unity in diversity. As athletes, you have the unique opportunity to not only represent your regions but also celebrate the cultural heritage that shapes our collective identity. Let your actions on and off the field reflect the values of cultural sensitivity, appreciation, and understanding.” Jubahib said.