Cebu City — President Rodrigo Duterte assured his support for the Filipino young athletes as he led the opening ceremony of Philippine National Games 2018 here on Saturday, May 19.
“I am honored to stand here to formally open the much anticipated Philippine National Games 2018. I am proud to say that the spirit of the Filipino athlete is alive in all of us today,” President Duterte said in his speech at the Cebu City Sports Center here.
The President noted the efforts of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and its partners for successfully organizing the national multi-sport tournament, which features top-caliber athletes from all over the country ages 16 years old and above.
He urged the sports commission and the local government units to intensify collaboration with private partners “to further champion various Philippine sports.”
“This will deepen our nation’s commitment to foster sportsmanship and integrity towards sports excellence and global competitiveness,” he said.
“May this occasion serve as a platform to hone everyone’s physical prowess and promote patriotism within our athletic communities,” he added.
He then called on athletes to continue seeking support from the government, particularly the PSC, through its various development programs “so that they may realize their true potential”.
He also encouraged the youth to support the administration’s initiatives in addressing the country’s problems such as criminality, corruption and illegal drugs.
“Remember that sports is an effective avenue to instill discipline in our youth to keep them away from these societal ills,” he said.
The Chief Executive said he is confident that the participants will demonstrate teamwork and camaraderie as they compete with each other during the tournament, which will be held from May 19 to 25.
“These principles are essential in forming an active citizenry that is capable of steering the Philippines towards a better and more prosperous future,” he said.
“To all the competitors here today, you have my full support as you secure your place in your respective fields. I trust that you will join me as we bring lasting change for the sake of [our people],” he added.
Philippine National Games is an athletic competition created to determine the possible composition of national pool athletes that will compete in international tournaments such as the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and the Olympics.
This will be the second time Cebu will be hosting the games. The first was in 1997.
A total of 19 sports will be staged in Cebu including athletics, archery, boxing, cycling, judo, karatedo, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, arnis, chess, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, duathlon, beach and indoor volleyball, weightlifting and badminton.
Gymnastics and rugby football will be held in Manila and Canlubang, Laguna, respectively. PND