Iloilo City is set to host the 24th Philippine University Games (UNIGAMES) from Oct. 19 to 27 where more than 2,500 delegates from colleges and universities in the country are expected to gather and boost the city’s sports tourism.

The University of San Agustin (USA) in Iloilo will host the games.  40 colleges and universities are expected to participate in the tournament, according to Roger A. Banzuela, president and chairman of UNIGAMES on Thursday.

Last year, Dumaguete City hosted the 23rd edition of the games where around 30 colleges and universities attended the event.

Banzuela revealed that the event will generate around Php750,000 worth of money for food alone if each of the delegates will spend Php300 a day for their meals, excluding snacks, transportation, and souvenirs. In 10 days, they city could generate a total income of Php7.5 million.

This year’s number of participating schools is higher compared to last year due to the participation of the 2019 Collegiate Grand Slam in conjunction with the women’s volleyball championships of the UNIGAMES.

One of the events, the women’s volleyball indoor competition, will be called the 2019 UNIGAMES-Collegiate Grand Slam 2nd Dominic Sytin Cup.

Over-all chair of the USA’s steering committee Fray Stephen Ong Tan, OSA, said they are making sure to give priority to the event’s security.

The Philippine National Police, accredited hospitals, emergency responders and other concerned sectors are coordinating with the committee to ensure order of the event.

“We are in the stage of already implementing our security measures. We’ve already done our orientation,” Tan added, stating that USA also hosted the UNIGAMES in 2014.

He added the city government’s Meetings, Incentives, Travel, Conference, Convention, Exhibitions, Events (MICE) Center has been helping them in the preparations.

The delegates will experience and learn the “historical and cultural values of Ilonggos”, MICE center executive director Salvador D. Sarabia Jr. said

“Why are we welcoming UNIGAMES? Because it is one of the eight institutional advocacies of the university-sports advocacy,” he added.

The main campus of the university and the Sambag campus in Jaro district will provide accommodation to athletes who will be participating in the event. Iloilo Doctors College also is helping if the two campuses could not house all the athletes.

The opening program for the UNIGAMES will be held in the afternoon of Oct. 20 after the 2 p.m. Eucharistic celebration at the USA gymnasium.

Listed events for UNIGAMES include athletics, basketball, football, volleyball and beach volleyball to be held in various playing venues in Iloilo City.

The theme of this year’s UNIGAMES is “The Games that Bring Us Together for Unity and Peace”. (RJ Espartinez)