LEGAZPI CITY: “We won over Tuguegarao!” Governor Joey Sarte Salceda blurted out as he jumped with joy after he learned of the news that the Province of Albay won in its bid to host the prestigious Palarong Pambansa in April 2016.
Salceda said he was as if in Cloud 9 owing to the happiness that the piece of information brought to him and the Albayanos that the province won over Tuguegarao, Cagayan as the next venue for the national sports competition.
He said Albay passed through a rigid process of screening and evaluation before bagging the honor.
The governor said it will be the first for the province to host the Palarong Pambansa after 60 years and after 20 years for the Bicol Region.
He said it is also part of his ardent wish for his birthday, which is on Oct. 26 but has been celebrated by various sectors of the province almost the whole month through activities related to environment, nutrition, health and social community services.
Salceda said Albay would be flooded with about 20,000 local tourists from the 18 regions in the country for 12 days.
“I seek God’s blessing on His people in Albay. May we win the Palarong Pambansa bidding on Oct. 28. It would bring 20,000 local tourists to Albay in 12 days,” he said in part in his birthday prayer which came out in his Facebook account.
His opening statement early Thursday morning, also in his Facebook account was: “Good morning God, thank you for blessing Albay.”
In this connection, the province has been flooded with countless greetings and expressions of support for winning the bid to host the Palarong Pambansa for the first time.
According to Salceda, many well-known local government units had also expressed their desire to host the national sports event like Ilocos Norte, the stronghold of the Marcoses.
On Wednesday, Albay faced Tuguegarao, Cagayan, the bailiwick of the Enriles, as its final competitor in the hosting of the games.
Salceda said there were several factors that worked in favor of Albay.
“The province’s culture of preparedness, through its disaster risk reduction and management expertise and its aggressive tourism program were big plus points,” he claimed.
The economist governor also said the evaluators also considered the possible sunny weather in the province due to the El Niño phenomenon that would work favorably for the participants of the games.
Actually, he said, it was Team Albay that won because of the abundant El Nino risks in April when it will be held.
Salceda said Albay has a 69-percent edge in terms of geocentricity or location compared to other areas.
“Since Albay is in the center of the Philippines, it can be easily reached and the participants in the Palaro would not encounter difficulty in coming here,” he said.
This offers less travel time, leas cost, less discomfort and less carbon emission, he added.
The beauty, greenery and clean air in the province owing to the less carbon emission were also a positive factor.
There is also a high-capacity level among private schools and commercial malls for indoor activities.
Albay has also a billeting capacity for the participants during the competition with the presence of a model multi-purpose evacuation center of JICA and AECID that can accommodate 3,900 persons as mentioned by the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office.
Then there is the robust tourism industry in Albay with the tourist-readiness of ecosystem and destinations. PNA