President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be the keynote speaker when this year’s Private Schools Athletic Association (PRISAA) national games formally opens in Lingayen town on Feb. 6.
This was confirmed by lawyer Gonzalo Duque, PRISAA national president, in a press briefing in Dagupan City yesterday.
Duque, also the president of the Lyceum-Northwestern University, said that cabinet officials and the province’s congressmen led by Speaker Jose De Venecia are also expected to grace the occasion.
The national games, which will be hosted by the province for the first time in the 53-year history of the PRISAA, will be participated in by some 4,000 athletes and athletic officials from the 16 regions of the country.
“We have finally proven we can host a national event as big as the PRISAA and this is largely because of the help and cooperation of our province’s officials,” Duque said.
Duque thanked the different officials of the province for extending financial support to ensure the success of the national games.
He said Gov. Victor Agbayani spent some P25 million for the face-lifting of the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center, where most of the events will be held, while Dagupan City Mayor Benjamin Lim repaired the Olympic-sized swimming pool in Dagupan City.
Lim will also be hosting a Dagupan night, where the athletes will be treated to a night of songs of Gary Valenciano and grilled bangus at the city plaza.
For his part, Lim said De Venecia contributed P350,000 as financial assistance.
The Feb. 6 opening ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at the NRSCC after a parade from the provincial capitol compound to the athletic grounds.
The games, which will feature athletics, baseball, basketball, lawn tennis, sepak takraw, volleyball, chess, table tennis, badminton, softball, swimming and taekwondo, will begin in various venues at 1 p.m. on the same day.
As this developed, Gov. Victor Agbayani expressed satisfaction over the speedy renovation of the NRSCC.
“The major restoration effort is our way of reiterating our strong commitment to the development and welfare of our youth,” Agbayani said.
Engr. Divinia de Leon, provincial engineer, said the provincial government has spent several millions of pesos for the renovation of the sports center, which was built in 1995 when Pangasinan hosted the Palarong Pambansa during the term of then President Fidel Ramos.
De Leon said repair work included rehabilitation of air-conditioning system of the gymnasium; waterproofing of bleachers, grandstand, and floorings; installation of gymnasium lighting system; pest control treatment; repainting of gymnasium, grandstand, and cyclone wire fence.
Also under repair were the various dormitories for the athletes and sports officials, grandstand windows, stadium and grandstand walls, hallways, and outdoor playcourts for tennis, basketball, volleyball and sepak takraw.
“We are also upgrading the gymnasium flooring by installing resilient synthetic PVC cushion flooring with close cell foam and shock absorption,” De Leon said.