The province of Pangasinan will try to outdo itself when it hosts the Palarong Pambansa next year, exactly 17 years after it first hosted this national sporting event in 1995.
This was disclosed by Governor Amado Espino Jr., who in 1995 was still the Police Provincial Director of Pangasinan and concurrent to his position, was designated as Task Force Palarong Pambansa commander.
He said that from his own viewpoint, Pangasinan fared well when it hosted the national games for the first time in 1995 and would definitely do it much, much better 17 years after.
“It is different now. I am now the governor of Pangasinan and would possibly designate somebody else as Task Force Palaro commander,” said Espino during a press conference.
Two days ago, the province of Pangasinan literally passed the eye of the needle when it made its final bid to host the Palarong Pambansa next year before a meeting of undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and regional directors of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Manila.
The DepEd officials deliberated tediously for five hours to choose the next venue of the games and after that, Education Secretary Armin Luistro came out from the room to announce that the final choice is Pangasinan.
With this, Espino said another tough job lies ahead for Pangasinan but is confident that with the cooperation of the people, the province can respond to the challenge with much aplomb.
As task force commander for the 1995 Palarong Pambansa, Espino took charge in all aspects of preparations, confiding that the hardest part of it was the putting up of what is now known as the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center.
“Maybe, I will no longer be the task force commander but now the supervisor”, he said, watching the calendar to show that Pangasinan has only five months of actual preparations before the games begin.
“In 1995, we practically started from the scratch or I would say negative zero because we had no infrastructure whatsoever to speak of,” said Espino.
But Pangasinan’s biggest ally then was President Fidel V. Ramos who was determined to leave a legacy to his province mates.