GMA OPENS "PALARO" FOR METRO MANILA'S STREET KIDS TODAY
Rizal Memorial, Metro Manila, June 16, 2001 - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today launched at the Rizal Memorial Track and Field Oval the Palaro ng Batang Lansangan, an athletic event aimed at discovering sports talents among Metro Manila’s street children.
The President announced the opening of the games before Philippine sports officials and some 5,000 street children from all over Metro Manila. "Bilang Pangulo, ang aking panawagan ngayon ay simulan na natin ang laro (As President, I call on you to start the games). Let the games begin," the President said.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Jose Lina, who spoke on behalf of the city and municipal mayors who took part in the games, pointed out that the athletic event was the President’s brainchild.
The Palaro ng Batang Lansangan was a project of the President when she was still the Vice President and Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
"Malapit sa kanyang puso ang proyektong ito sapagkat ang batang lansangan ay dapat mawala sa lansangan…yan ang layunin natin. Magkaroon sila ng magandang buhay (This project is close to the President’s heart because we have to get the street children out of the streets. Our objective is to give them a healthy and meaningful existence)," Lina said.
During the event, Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Carlos "Butch" Tuason lighted the urn, signifying the opening of the games.
A European children dance troupe performed and sang a Filipino folk song while some street children danced.
The President, wearing gray suit and pants, also ardently attended to the street children. She threw give-away volleyballs and footballs to the children, who milled around the stage.
Aside from Tuason, other sports officials present were PSC commissioners Cynthia Carrion, Ritchie Garcia, William Ramirez and Weena Lim.
Also present at the event were Caloocan City Mayor Rey Malonzo and Marilen Dinglasan, project director of the Ginintuan Foundation.
The participating street children also took part at last week’s Parent Enrichment Service program, "Ahon Magulang," held at the Malacanang Gardens.
The program, designed for parents of urban street children, provides educational assistance packages for these children and employment or capital assistance for parents. The seminars are also aimed at teaching parents how to be good fathers and mothers.
Among the events lined up for the street children participants are swimming, football, trace relays long jump, walkathon, aerobics, and softball.
© Copyright, 2001 by PHILIPPINE
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