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VP appears in Palarong Pambansa

VP appears in Palarong Pambansa

(UPDATE) CEBU CITY – After missing out on the opening ceremony of Palarong Pambansa at the Cebu City Sports Center on Tuesday, Vice President Sara Duterte surprisingly made an appearance at one of the event’s venues on Wednesday.

She also stood aside when President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivered his message to student-athletes on Tuesday and declared the 2024 Games open.

On Wednesday afternoon, Duterte was spotted at the campus of the University of San Jose-Recoletos Basak Pardo, where she watched the high school girls’ volleyball match between Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) and her hometown Region 11 (Davao Region).

VP appears in Palarong Pambansa

SPORTS FAN Vice President Sara Duterte watches the high school students’ volleyball match between Cagayan Valley and Davao Region at the campus of the University of San Jose-Recoletos Basak Pardo on July 10, 2024. PHOTO BY KAISER JAN FUENTES

The outgoing secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd) stayed present throughout the match to cheer on her team and her team’s opponent.

She also responded to selfie requests from spectators in the gym and from teachers and trainers.

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In a chance interview after the competition, Duterte emphasized her support for all participants, not just those from the Davao region.

“As for the team, it’s really great to support Cauayan City in Isabela. The satellite office that was set up for Region 2 can cheer for both teams (I didn’t choose a team to cheer for because I also love Cauayan City in Isabela. I even have a satellite office there for Region 2, so I cheer for both teams),” she said.

Regarding her absence from the opening ceremony, Duterte decided not to answer questions about her reasons, despite public speculation about a possible spat with the president.

The public suspects she skipped the ceremony because the president was present.

Last month, Duterte resigned as Education Secretary and vice chairman of the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict.

In an interview with the media in Cebu on June 29 during an event organized by the Office of the Vice President, she confirmed her presence at the six national events of the DepEd in Cebu, including the Palarong Pambansa.

Palarong Pambansa marks one of her last stints in this role as her resignation takes effect on July 17.

When pressed on this, Duterte declined to provide further details, urging the public to focus on the sporting events.

“Iyong opening ceremony (tapos naman no. So, huwag na nating pag-usapan kung ano ‘yung nangyari kahapon. Ang importante masaya ang mga atleta at mga coaches (As for the opening ceremony, let’s not talk about what happened yesterday. What is important is that the athletes and coaches are happy),” she said, highlighting the extensive preparations for the Palarong Pambansa over the past year under her tenure.

In a telephone interview, DepEd Undersecretary Michael Poa said Duterte opted to go to the hospital to check on the student-athletes who were reportedly admitted for dengue.

The Manila Times reported last Monday that at least two student-athletes tested positive for dengue, as confirmed by Dr. Peter Mancao, officer-in-charge and director of the Cebu City Medical Center.

P8M from the Capitol

Meanwhile, the Cebu provincial government has donated P8 million as additional funds for the closing ceremony of the Palarong Pambansa 2024 on July 16.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia expressed optimism in the assistance she is providing Cebu City in hosting the Games for elementary and high school athletes, seeing it as a symbol of unity among Cebu leaders.

She met with Cebu City’s Palarong Pambansa Technical Working Group, led by Acting Mayor Raymond Garcia and Cebu City Sports Commission Chairman John Pages, who promised to deliver a “spectacular” closing ceremony.

The Governor attended the opening ceremony on Tuesday evening and introduced the Chief Executive.

Mayor Garcia thanked the province of Cebu for its financial support.

“We are very happy. This really shows that Cebu is one Cebu Island, helping each other. I am happy that the governor has agreed that the province will handle the final of our Palaro,” he said.

Cebu City’s budget for the Games has been reduced from P405 million to P262 million.

In May, neighboring cities Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue signed a cooperation agreement to assist Cebu City in hosting the Palarong Pambansa.