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City approves staging of CARAA despite construction at Baguio Athletic Bowl

SHOW MUST GO ON, said City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña (second from the right) after the Department of Education - CAR, through regional Director Estela Cariño, assured the safety of the 7,000 delegates. The Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association meet will be held on April 29 until May 1 | PML

The Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) will take place despite construction being at full blast at the Baguio Athletic Bowl starting April 29 until May 1.

City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said Tuesday that they have already given the Department of Education – CAR the green light after the latter assured the city government that it will implement all safety measures to assure the safety of nearly 7,000 participants from the six provinces and to host Baguio in the three-day sporting event.

“We have already given the go signal for the staging of the CARAA,” said dela Peña during the launching of the city’s first art bank at the sports complex Tuesday.

Dela Peña said that safety precautions include having fewer people during the event, where only athletes, coaches and sports officials will be present. No spectators will be present during the athletic meet where the selection to represent the region at the Palarong Pambansa later this year will come from.

“We have so many construction [works] – the tennis court near the entrance, the youth convergence and sports complex at the other end, and now the gate,” said dela Peña.

Last week, DepEd – CAR conducted a coordination meeting that was called on and presided over by Regional Director Estela Cariño for the orientation of “all the committees on their roles during the conduct of the sports activities and to ensure that policies related to its conduct are being met…”

It was also reiterated during said meeting that despite the pandemic, where CARAA has been put on hold, “planning for these sports activities was always carried out.”

In a release, the regional agency said, “With the remaining days of preparation, DepEd-CAR sees to ensure that the showcasing of skills, athleticism, and sportsmanship are prioritized.”

Baguio was supposed to host the CARAA in 2020 but was cancelled when the entire Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine in March 17, 2020.

Last year, the city implemented major renovations within the seven-hectare sports complex, including the PHP 380-million youth convergence sports complex, the PHP 105-million tennis court, the PHP 30-million athletes’ quarters and now the PHP 10-million gate and façade that will include the demolition of the small grandstand or bandstand adjacent to the ongoing tennis court construction.

It was also during the pandemic that the PHP 45-million big grandstand extension and lighting installations were made. The space under the new bleachers now houses the city’s sports development office as well as the weights, shower and comfort rooms for athletes.

DepEd-CAR sports officials say that Benguet will help host the event, although its own sports complex at Wangal in La Trinidad has not been turned over to the province.

Running events are expected to be staged at the Benguet State University oval.

Last Thursday, Cariño issued Regional Memorandum No. 186, S. 2023 informing all DepEd-CAR officials that the CARAA parade for all delegates will be conducted on April 29 at 7 a.m. and not on April 28 as earlier published.

The conduct of district and division meets as well as regional meets and eventually the Palarong Pambansa resumed after face-to-face classes were allowed last year.

DepEd, earlier this year, issued Memorandum No. 5 mandating the conduct of division meets from February 6 to 10, and the regional meets from April 24 to 28.

Meanwhile, the wish of coaches of team events was granted, but these events will be staged on other dates after May 1. Pigeon Lobien

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