By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The Department of Education (DepEd) formally announced that the Philippines will be hosting the 12th ASEAN Schools Games (ASG) in Dumaguete City next year.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones (DEPED / MANILA BULLETIN)
Education Secretary Leonor Briones

Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in DepEd Memorandum No. 180 s. of 2019, said the local government of Dumaguete City, the Province of Negros Oriental, and DepEd Region VII will host the ASG from Nov. 7 to 15, 2020, with the theme “Inspire, Play, and Experience.”

Briones said the ASG is an “annual sports competition among secondary students” organized under the ASEAN School Sports Council (ASSC). It aims to provide ASEAN “solidarity in the youth through school sports, opportunities for school athletes to benchmark their sporting talents, and to interact and engage in cultural exchanges within ASEAN.”

During her visit in Dumaguete last July, Briones said that DepEd is preparing for the ASG 2020 and gathering ground reports. She emphasized the importance of ensuring the success of the event.

“We are fortunate to be chosen as the host of this big event but along with the good fortune is a great responsibility,” she said. The DepEd chief also urged everybody to be united and set aside political colors, beliefs, and religion, as the “country’s pride is at stake.”

Participating in the ASG are athletes from the 10 nations in Southeast Asia, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The participants will compete in various sports including archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, sepak takraw, swimming, table tennis, and volleyball.

The competitions, DepEd said, will be governed by their respective international rules and regulations unless otherwise amended by the organizing committee with the concurrence of the participating ASEAN countries.

In line with the hosting of the 2020 ASG, Briones said that a National Executive Committee (NEC) and different technical committees were constituted to “ensure the successful conduct” of the event. The committee chairpersons, she added, should convene regular meetings and provide feedback to the head of the Steering Committee who shall report to the NEC.

Sports and the Filipino youth

Meanwhile, Briones underscored the importance of strengthening and promoting sports among young Filipinos.

At the recently-concluded 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games hosted by the Philippines, Briones was quoted as saying that DepEd is very proud of the performances of the athletes and Filipino youth.

“With discipline, determination, and support of the entire Filipino community, we can be successful,” she said.

Briones with the Manila Concert Choir performed a repertoire of classic Filipino songs at the 30th SEA Games closing ceremony at the Athletics Stadium in New Clark City, Tarlac.

At the closing ceremonies, Briones met former and current Palarong Pambansa athletes, including Algin Gomez, Vince Buhayan, Jasmine Bombita, Bernalyn Bejoy, and Ann Katherine Quitoy who represented the Philippines in athletics at the 30th SEA Games.

She also reminded the athletes, whom she called “our new breed of sports heroes,” to focus on their “studies while pursuing their passion in sports.”