|Ivan Saldajeno/Dugout Philippines|
By Ricky Manliguis
MANILA—The City Government of Marikina has announced the cancellation of the 2020 Palarong Pambansa this May after it confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Putting the safety of the athletes and their families first, Marikina City Mayor Marcy Teodoro suspends the Palarong Pambansa 2020 in May because of the threat posed by COVID-19,” said in a statement released by the LGU Monday morning.
Teodoro later added that despite the city being "100 percent ready" for the annual sporting spectacle, he was left no choice but to suspend it all for the safety of the participants and their families.
“Because of the health threat posed by COVID-19, I am suspending indefinitely the Palarong Pambansa 2020 as the health of the student athletes, teachers, and family members from all regions in the country is our primordial concern,” he said.
An 86-year old person who recently traveled to South Korea was the first case of COVID-19 in the city, prompting city officials to order a massive disinfection drive all over the city.
The 63rd edition of the Palarong Pambansa, supposed to be slated from May 1-9, will feature elementary and secondary student-athletes from the 17 athletic associations in the country competing in 29 sporting disciplines.
The Department of Education (DepEd) in January awarded the hosting rights of the Palaro to the Shoe Capital after its original choice Occidental Mindoro withdrew due to the devastation brought by typhoon “Tisoy.”
[Related Story: Marikina to host Palaro 2020 as OcciMin withdraws]