Duterte: Sports diverts youth from illegal drugs, criminality

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 15) — President Rodrigo Duterte maintained his tough stance against illegal drugs and criminality in his address to student-athletes at the opening of Palarong Pambansa 2018 on Sunday.

“Sports serves as an avenue to divert the youth from illegal drugs, criminality and other lawless acts. We in government continue our campaign to eradicate these social ills to ensure a safe and progressive tomorrow for you and for the next generations,” Duterte said.

The President also said the government “remains steadfast” in the promotion of physical education through sports programs and in giving support to athletes, especially during international competitions.

The Palarong Pambansa 2018, which opened in Bantay, Ilocos Sur, marked the 61st edition of the nationwide competition. About 20,000 athletes and coaches from the country’s 17 regions are in attendance for the week-long event.

Duterte also highlighted the athletes’ potential in stepping up for the future.

“More than just a showcase of the Filipino youth’s talents and skills in the field of sports, the Palarong Pambansa serves as a training ground for future leaders and nation builders whose values and principles are founded on perseverance, discipline, teamwork, integrity and love of country,” he said.

The President, however, reminded the delegates not to be negligent in their academics.

“While you devote yourselves in sports, do your best to excel in your studies too. Your ability to balance academics and your other interests measures your aptitude for skills such as multi-tasking, time management and decision-making—skills that you will need as you take on greater responsibilities in the future,” Duterte said.

Since his presidential campaign, Duterte has highlighted his strong objection against the use of illegal drugs and the spread of criminality, especially on the youth.