Luna, Apayao – Apayao will host this year’s Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) Meet, the second time it does, the first one was in 2013.

The regional sports event will be held on Feb. 27 to end on Mar. 3.

Playing venues are distributed in the four municipalities of the lower section of the province but most of the events will be played at the Apayao Eco-Tourism and Sports Complex (AETSC) where the opening program will take place.

Around 6,000 athletes, coaches and technical officiating officials are expected to flock here.  The provincial government, on one hand, estimates up to 10,000 people coming over in addition to the official delegations representing the eight schools division offices in the region.  Apayao is near Ilocos Norte and Cagayan.

Education secretary Leonor M. Briones will be the keynote speaker during the opening of the event to be held at the AETSC.  Hence, her visit will attract officials from the nearby provinces to come and the ordinary citizens to watch the events.  Asec Revsee A. Escobedo of DepEd will also be around during the opening ceremony.  It is expected that several elected government officials will also be around during the event.

As to number of delegates, Benguet has the largest (849) as of Feb. 24.  Baguio City comes next with 829.  Apayao has 800.  Ifugao has 761.  Tabuk has 715.  Abra has 703.  Mt. Province and Kalinga have 690 and 600, respectively.

Several times, Gov. Elias C. Bulut, Jr. said his leadership is much willing to host again the regional event as what his administration did in 2013.  “Aside from the upgrading and provision of necessary physical facilities for sports, it is also the province’s opportunity to promote local tourism,” he said.  He said this again during the Apayao Eagles kick-off program held on Fe. 18 at the ECBJR Multi-Purpose and Evacuation Center where the athletes, coaches and officials of the schools division office attended.

For her part, Eleanor C. Bulut-Begtang, congressional representative, also stressed in her message during the kick-off program that her administration when she will sit as governor come July 1, 2019 will give the same supporting to sports.                               

In 2013, Senators Francis Joseph Escudero III and Grace Poe were guests during the opening ceremony. (Bernie A. Gamiao)