Koronadal allocates P15-M for hosting 2007 Palaro

City Administrator Marcelita Lucido said the amount will be used for the rehabilitation of the billeting quarters and additional playing venues outside the South Cotabato Sports Complex, the main venue of the annual sports event.

She said this allocation is on top of the estimated P65 million budget set aside by the Palarong Pambansa board, which is headed by the Department of Education.     
"We're on the final stages of preparations right now and we're targeting to finish all the necessary works ahead of the scheduled start of the games," she said.

Lucido said they have completed the identification and the forging of some arrangements with officials of public and private schools in the city that would serve as billeting facilities and playing venues.

She said Mayor Fernando Miguel has signed a memorandum of agreement with the provincial government of South Cotabato for the use of the provincial sports complex and its facilities.

Although situated in this city, the South Cotabato provincial government holds the ownership rights and the management of the sprawling sports complex, which also served as one of the main playing venues of the annual national games in 1996.

Aside from the physical preparations, Lucido said the city government has also drafted a shortlist of guests for the opening and the closing of the games.

She said the mayor personally listed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the main guest for "being the main benefactor of this event."

"Our mayor wants to hold the opening program in the evening to make it unique and more dramatic. It would literally be full of fireworks," Lucido said.

She said the city government has already started to mobilize various sectors in the city, especially those in the transportation and business sectors, to assist their ongoing preparations.

In 1996, the city served as one of the main venues of the Palarong Pambansa that was then jointly hosted by South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos City. In 2000, the city also co-hosted the defunct Palaro ng Bayan, then introduced as the national youth games, along with General Santos City.

The city has served as venue for other sports events such as the Coke Go-For-Goal national championship, the National Open Dart Competition, Mindanao Taekwondo Open and the Philippine Practical Shooting Association's national shootfest. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)