Arrayed in a range of colors that vividly contrasted with the grey skies above them, student delegates and their advisers from the country’s 16 regions paraded through the heart of Naga while marching to the music of various local college bands and drum and lyre corps.
The delegates walked a U-shaped route starting from Panganiban Street and passing Elias Angeles and General Luna streets in the city center before reaching the Plaza Quezon, where a sizeable crowd of onlookers equipped with umbrellas awaited them with cheers.
Naga City Mayor [[Jesse M. Robredo]] there welcomed the delegates along with [[Department of Education]] (DepEd) Undersecretary [[Vilma Labrador]], who graced the NSPC’s inauguration ceremonies in place of Secretary [[Jesli A. Lapuz]]. The DepEd chief had also been scheduled to give a press briefing earlier in the morning but pulled out at the last minute. Camarines Sur Governor [[Luis A. Villafuerte]], who was slated to address the delegates, was also unable to make it to the opening program.
“Ang tunay na sukatan ng paligsahan na ito ay hindi po ang magwawagi sa February 19, kundi kung ano ang mangyayari sa mga manunulat na sa ngayon po ay nag-uumpisa pa lang, (The worth of this contest will be measured not by who wins on February 19, but by what will happen to these young writers),” Robredo told the NSPC participants. “Ang pagsulat, ang pag-gamit ng media, mahalagang bagay na dapat mga responsable ang binibigyan ng kapangyarihan at pagkakataon (Only the responsible should be given the opportunity and the power to write and use the media).”
Labrador, a native Bicolana hailing from Catanduanes, formally opened the event. In her keynote address, she spoke about the theme of this year’s NSPC, stating that climate change is not just a theory or an unfounded rumor, but a reality that should be given due attention.
The delegates’ recitation of the Campus Journalist’s Creed was led by [[Bicol]] Regional Outstanding Campus Journalist Lorenz Ray B. Payonga, after which the banners of the NSPC and the different delegations were raised by DepEd officials and delegation heads.
According to the official count, 3178 students and advisers from 16 regions are expected to stay in Naga for the duration of the four-day NSPC, considered the biggest and most prestigious competition for elementary and high school campus journalists in the country.
Photo: "Parade" licenseed under Creative Commons license number By-nc-sa-3.0-Philippines.