The province of Negros Oriental won the bid to host the Palarong Pambansa 2013, according to Gov. Roel Degamo who said his office received a confirmation fax letter on Wednesday from the Department of Education.

Education Sec. Armin Luistro, in his letter dated Oct.24, said the decision for Negros Oriental to host the Palaro “was reached after a tedious selection and deliberation process taking into consideration the presentations made last Oct. 19 and the report provided by the technical committee composed of officials of the Dep Ed and the Philippine Sports Commission.”

The final choice was based on voting results by the Palarong Pambansa Board where 19 members were present during the voting. 

The letter said Dumaguete (referring to Negros Oriental) won with 11 votes over its neighboring province and contender, Negros Occidental, who got seven votes, the DepEd letter said. 

At least two conditions have been set for the Governor/provincial government to comply with in the next two weeks for the Palaro hosting. 

These are a formal letter of commitment to host the 2013 Palarong Pambansa indicating the provincial government’s offer of counterpart funding to ensure the successful conduct of the event, and the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement to firm up the roles and obligations of the DepEd and the provincial government. 

Governor Degamo said he is very happy that for the first time, the provincial government of Negros Oriental has successfully won the bidding in hosting the national games. 

Former governors of Negros Oriental had also tried their luck in bidding to host the Palaro, but to no avail.

The Governor said he will be meeting the members of the provincial school board to discuss important matters like preparation, accommodations, security, and the facilities.

Provincial Sports Coordinator Paultom Paras, who attended the bidding with Governor Degamo in Manila, said both Negros Oriental and Occidental made similar presentations; but he said the biggest question which elicited the winning answer for Negros Oriental was “How do you propose to cope with the expenses when you just went through Sendong and the earthquake?”

Danilo Mendez, provincial treasurer, answered that Negros Oriental “extremely” increased its tax collections mainly due to the remittances of the Energy Development Corp. “So we can provide what you need,” Mendez assured the committee.

Paras told the MetroPost the Province also assured the Palarong Pambansa Board that Negros Oriental has the equipment needed to rehabilitate and repair the sports facilities and billeting venues in time for the games.

Governor Degamo is confident the provincial government, in cooperation with the Department of Education, can make everything ready before the Palarong Pambansa in April 2013.

He said the government is setting aside an initial funding of P7 million for the counterpart fund as required for the hosting of the Palarong Pambansa.

The budget is taken from the Special Education Fund of the provincial government.

According to Provincial Administrator Arnel Francisco, they are expecting a conservative estimate of at least seven to ten thousand delegates and technical staff for the Palarong Pambansa.

Negros Oriental will also be hosting the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (CVRAA) in December. (with PNA/Judy F. Partlow and Maricar Aranas)