Dumaguete's hosting of this year's University Games, from Oct. 24-30, is the city's way of contributing to the anti-drugs campaign of the government, Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo said.
He said there is need to develop and support all types of sports as a proactive way to distract the minds of the youth from the temptations of drugs, by way of competitive sports that can also be rehabilitative.
He said he is fortunate to host the Games this year, the fifth so far in the city. The first three was hosted by Foundation University in 2000, 2002 and 2008, Silliman University in 2010, and this year.
Gov. Roel Degamo had earlier assured his 101 percent support to the sports activity.
Remollo said hosting national sports competitions is one way of solving the many problems of the country especially on illegal drugs, and as a contribution of the city to the relentless campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte against illegal drugs and all forms of criminality.
Remollo said sporting events are very good avenues for drug dependents to recover faster.
He enjoined the public, especially the transport sector, not to unilaterally increase their fare and for vendors not to take advantage of the situation by increasing the prices of their goods in the markets or the malls.
“Let us show to them that we're not taking advantage of their presence and to extend extra hospitality,” Remollo said.
He said he is happy to note that the Philippine Sports Commission chairman, Butch Ramirez, whose roots is from Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental, had been saying that Negros Oriental and Dumaguete City will be the centers for the development of grassroots sports in the country.
Unigames president Roger Banzuela said the organizers have so many plans for Dumaguete, to include bringing top international caliber competitions for beach volleyball and the so-called Beach Volleyball Republic, with exhibition games in Cagayan Valley, in Bicol and in Tagum City and the next stop might be in Dumaguete, either in December or January.
There are 10 events in the Unigames this year, to include basketball men and women with 20 teams, 15 teams for the beach volleyball, table tennis men and women, athletics, football, taekwondo, chess, and badminton.
Sepak takraw is not included due to lack of participating teams. However, the secretary general of the Southeast Asian Sepak Takraw Association and the author of the rules of the sport will visit Dumaguete to conduct a sepak takraw clinic, Banzuela said.
To date, 38 schools, colleges and universities have confirmed their participation, the latest was Negros Oriental State University in Dumaguete City. Collegiate schools affected by the K to 12 program have to field athletes in the individual and dual sports.
Most of the delegations will arrive in Dumaguete Saturday and Sunday, Banzuela said.
For schools with enough funding, they will stay in hotels, but those with limited money will be billeted in elementary schools. About 1,100 athletes are already distributed in public schools, like the West City Elementary School, South City ES in Mangnao, North City ES in Piapi, Batinguel Elementary School, Magsaysay ES in Pulantubig, Camanjac ES, and in Junob National High School.
The technical meeting for all coaches, tournament managers, and officiating officials is at 9 a.m. Monday.*JG
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