Issue of February 4, 2018
Mt. Province

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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High CARAA 2018 turnout seen despite grenade blast
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

NO STOPPING CARAA 2018 -- Athletes and coaching staff from all over the region trooped to Abra for the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association 2018 Meet despite the tension in the province due to the recent grenade blast in La Paz town. The police and military assured they will provide 24/7 security in sports and billeting venues. -- Ofelia Empian

The Department of Education is expecting the arrival of 95 to 100 percent of the athletes for the Cordillera Region Athletic Association 2018 Meet, which is set for its opening ceremonies today, Feb. 4, in Bangued, Abra, despite the grenade explosion last week in La Paz town.

Based on the list provided by provincial sports coordinators to DepEd, a total of 5,559 delegates – comprised of athletes, management committees, and technical and working staffs from the six Cordillera provinces and cities of Baguio and Tabuk – are expected to join the largest sports event of elementary and high school students in the region.

Georaloy Palao-ay, DepEd-Cordillera public information officer, assured parents of the student athletes that best efforts are being done to ensure the safety and security of the participants.

“Do not worry because the provincial government of Abra, the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the DepEd are doing its best in keeping all our delegates safe. We hope and pray that no untoward incidents will happen,” Palao-ay said over DZEQ Radyo Pilipinas Baguio on Friday.

He said among other important considerations, the DepEd always requires Caraa host provinces to come up with its security plan. This time, safety and security measures in Bangued, especially in the billeting and playing venues of the sports events, have been beefed up following the grenade explosion in La Paz, which is about 10 kilometers from the capital town.

The incident, which happened during the culminating activity of the town’s fiesta and whose masterminds are still unidentified, injured Rep. JB Bernos, his wife Menchie, 11 others, and killed two police officers.

“The presence of security personnel is all the more visible now,” the DepEd official assured.

Aside from the security plan, Palao-ay said the province is well prepared in terms of billeting and facilities since commencing preparations last year.

Participants are likely to have to contend with a track oval with only four lanes.

Palao-ay added that based on information from Abra Gov. Ma. Jocelyn Bernos, the athletic oval, which was targeted for completion by Jan. 25, would only have four of its lanes ready for use during the event.

According to the governor, the contractor of the sports facility incurred delays in the delivery of construction materials due to Customs procedures.

Palao-ay said the athletics tournament manager assured the lesser number of track lanes will not affect the results of the athletics events, although the games will take longer time to conduct.

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