Ian Paul Gualberto

The Department of Education (DepEd), in partnership with Davao City as the host city, formally opened the 2019 Palarong Pambansa at the UP-Mindanao Sports Complex, April 28.

Anchored on the theme “Shaping the Future through Sports,” Palaro gathered more than 18,000 athletes and coaches from the 17 regions in the biggest sports event of the country.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones welcomed both delegates and guests to the annual multi-sports event and thanked President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for his consistent support to the education sector.

President Duterte, who served as the opening speaker, attested to the delegates that sports “is an effective avenue” to divert the youth from illegal drugs, criminality and other lawless acts, and conveyed his hopes that the participating student-athletes will greatly contribute to nation-building.

Keynote speaker President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his message to more than 18,000 delegates of the 2019 Palarong Pambansa during the opening ceremonies at UP-Mindanao Sports Complex, Davao City, April 28. PHOTO BY KEITH DANIEL TIZON

He also insisted that sports plays a vital role in encouraging the youth to live in a healthy lifestyle and stay away from the illegal drugs. He also reminded the student-athletes to assert their rights if there is a threat of oppression, especially corruption.

“The only thing this country needs is for you, young people, to assert your rights,” he said.

However, he clarified that defending rights does not mean to engage in a fight. The President declared that victims of such unlawful acts can visit him in Malacanang.

This is the first time that Davao City is hosting the Palarong Pambansa since it hosted the national games’ predecessor in the 1950s.