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Unity, camaraderie, and sportsmanship have once again ignited among the 12 participating state universities and colleges (SUCs) from CALABARZON and MIMAROPA regions in the 6th Southern Tagalog Regional Association of State Universities and Colleges’ (STRASUC) Olympics 2022 hosted by Cavite State University-Main Campus from 3-9 December 2022, with the theme “One Southern Tagalog Region”.
Sports advocate and Chairperson of the Senate Committee of Sports Hon. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go graced the in-person opening ceremony held at the CvSU Grandstand on 04 December, marking the official start of the week-long sports events among the competing SUCs.
“Bilang inyong senador at Chairperson po sa sports, isinisulong ko po na mabigyan ng karampatang suporta (ang mga atleta) upang makapag-training at maabot ang kanilang potensyal sa larangan.” Sen. Go stated. He also encouraged the audience particularly the youth to engage in sports rather than in vices and illegal activities and gave away basketball, volleyball and soccer balls to the delight of the players.
Meanwhile, also present in the opening program to welcome and express support to the delegations were Indang Mayor Perfecto V. Fidel, Officer-in-Charge (OIC) to the Office of the Director CHEDRO IV-A, Dr. Freddie B. Bulauan, and CHEDRO IV-B Regional Director, Atty. Joselito C. Alisuag. their respective speech, Mayor Fidel reminded the athletes that aside from aiming for the victory, sportsmanship must also reign in the competition; Dr. Bulauan highlighted the impact of sports on the values and physical and mental capabilities of the athletes; and Atty. Alisuag conveyed his deepest support and salutation to the participating institutions.
Likewise, CHED Commissioner Jo Mark M. Libre reminded the student-athletes the important roles of discipline, dedication, and determination in sports and even in their studies. As for Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) President Tirso A. Ronquillo, “…the benefits of this far outweigh the cost. We believe that sports development really develop(s) an individual, holistically. Ang palakasan ay nagpapalusog ng kaisipan at katawan ng isang indibidwal. Ang isang indibidwal na may malusog na kaisipan at pangangatawan ay bubuo ng isang malusog na pamilya. Ang isang malusog na pamilya ay bubuo ng isang malusog na komunidad. At ang malusog na komunidad, ay bubuo ng isang malusog at maunlad na bansa.”
The STRASUC Chair and President of Mindoro State University, Dr. Levy B. Arago Jr., on the other hand, addressed the delegations by saying that the “STRASUC Olympics is a symbol of continuing effort to contribute to the advancement of the Philippine sports. And like our theme One Southern Tagalog Region, I hope this event brings all of us even closer to each other. Today, I already declare all of you as victors but let me also declare a challenge. I challenge all of you to seek for greater victories, like the torch of your passion… and make sure to keep it burning.”
Straight from his engagement in Iloilo, CHED Chairperson J. Prospero “Popoy” E. De Vera III, also graced the event with his presence and delivered a message of support and felicitations to the delegations. He also cited the response of the Commission to the abrupt changes in conducting sports activities and competitions; among these efforts is the launching of sports and wellness program, initially in Tarlac.
“‘Yun ang aking pasasalamat sa mga atletang tuloy-tuloy ang pageensayo, gusto ko kayong i-congratulate at gusto kong sabihin na maaring sa ngayon ay hindi n’yo pa nakikita ang epekto ng pagiging disiplinado sa athletics. Pero ‘pag kayo’y tumatanda na, doon n’yo mapapansin ang lahat ng inambag nyong disipilina sa katawan ninyo, saka yan babalik at pahahabain ang inyong buhay. So, enjoy the games and do your best. Win with dignity, practice excellence” was Chair Popoy’s message of encouragement to the student-athletes.
The STRASUC Hymn, “Lalaban ang STRASUC”, was also launched during the opening ceremony followed by a welcome performance of three thousand (3,000) CvSU students exhibiting colorful dances such as La Jota Caviteña and Tara Na! (https://www.facebook.com/CaviteStateU/videos/1621748698245036). The banner raising was led by the respective sports directors and presidents while Ms. Rhealyn D. Villar, gold medalist in women’s badminton during the STRASUC Olympics Bubble Competition in April 2022, lighted the Unity Flame. The Oaths of Sportsmanship and Technical Officials were led by Mr. James Warren Cruspe State Colleges and Universities Athletic Association of Sports Directors (SCUAASD) President, Dr. Francisico V. Aguirre, respectively.
Student athletes, coaches, sports directors, and university officials from Batangas State University – The National Engineering University (BatSU-NEU), Cavite State University (CvSU), Laguna State Polytechnic University (LSPU), Southern Luzon State University (SLSU), University of the Philippines-Los Banos (UPLB) University of Rizal System (URS), Marinduque State College, (MSC), Mindoro State University (MinSU), Occidental Mindoro State College (OMSC), Palawan State University (PSU), Romblon State University (RSU), and Western Philippines University (WPU) paraded donning their official uniforms as part of the opening program.