Duterte vows support to country’s sports programs to help prevent youth crime, drug use

Published April 15, 2018, 6:52 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Genalyn Kabiling

As he vowed to support the country’s sports programs to help prevent youth crime and drug use, President Duterte has called on student athletes to excel in their studies as well.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the Palarong Pambansa opening at Elpidio Quirino Stadium in Bantay, Ilocos Sur, April 15, 2018 (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the Palarong Pambansa opening at Elpidio Quirino Stadium in Bantay, Ilocos Sur, April 15, 2018 (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

At the opening ceremony of the 2018 Palarong Pambansa in Ilocos Sur, the President highlighted the importance of balancing sports and academics to hone students’ values and skills.

“While you devote yourselves in sports, do your best to excel in your studies too,” Duterte said before an assembly of around 15,000 students who will compete in the country’s largest youth sports event.

“Your ability to balance academics and your other interests measures your aptitude for skills such as multi-tasking, time management and decision-making—skills that you will need as you take on greater responsibilities in the future,” he said.

In declaring the annual sports event officially open, the President also extended his congratulations to the student athletes from across the country, saying they were already winners.

“The fact that you are here with us today is enough proof of your determination and excellence in your chosen sports, and that makes all of you winners and champions already,” he said.

He said being a delegate to Palarong Pambansa was just one of the many firsts in the students’ journey towards success.

“Embody good values and enhance your skills, for this is the beginning of your greater participation in nation-building. I look forward to your more significant contributions to society in the days to come,” he added.

In the same speech, the President pledged to continue to support and promote sports program such as Palarong Pambansa, saying these not only help hone the country’s future leaders but also steer students away from a life of crime.

“Sports serves as an avenue to divert the youth from illegal drugs, criminality and other lawless acts,” he said. “We in government continue our campaign to eradicate these social ills to ensure a safe and progressive tomorrow for you and for the next generations,” he added.

He said the Palarong Pambansa, organized by the Department of Education also serves as “a training ground for future leaders and national builders whose values and principles are founded on perseverance, discipline, teamwork, integrity and love of country.”

“The government remains steadfast in promoting physical education, encouraging sports programs and supporting athletes, especially as they compete in international events,” he said.

The President also urged the parents to support their children as they explore their “limitless possibilities” for growth and development. “To the parents, there is no better way to show your love for your children than to help them realize their potential,” he said.

Towards end of his speech, the President reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to bring a safe and prosperous nation but asked for the help of the public.

“Rest assured that this administration will never stop working hard to make the Philippines a better nation. We, however, cannot do this alone. We call for your participation in making our national plans and programs tangible,” he said.

It was the second time the President attended the opening ceremony of the weeklong Palarong Pambansa. Duterte graced the sports event’s opening rites held in Antique last year.