DAGUPAN CITY – The city once again served as venue for the showcase of skills and talents,  this time in the national level, when  it hosted the National Festival of Talents with the theme “Celebrating Diversity through the Performance of Talents and Skills for Sustainable Inclusive Education” from January 29 to January 31.

This, just after earlier hosting the regional counterpart of the competition last December.

Held in cooperation with the Dagupan City government, NFOT of the Department of Education provides learners with opportunities to showcase their talents through exhibition of their products and performances as evidences of their learning.

In line with the theme, this year’s edition of NFOT also included learners with disabilities, out of school youth and Muslim learners.

The program was formally kicked off with a colorful street dance competition which highlighted each region’s respective culture and traditions.

At least 3,400 students and different learners from all 17 regions nationwide competing in the three-day competition attended the opening ceremonies held at CSI Stadia.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Usec. Lorna Dig-dino and Asec. Dr. Alma Ruby Torio of the Curriculum and Instruction, Dir. Leila Areola of the Bureau of Learning Delivery, Deped Regional Director Dr. Malcolm Garma, Asst. Regional Director Jess Amin, Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Lorna Bugayong, Asst. SDS Dr. Lourdes Servito and other key officials from each delegation graced the opening ceremonies.

As host city and certified DepEd partner, Mayor Belen T. Fernandezwelcomed the delegates.

“Dagupan is the best city where our young people can best truly express and demonstrate their finest talents and skills because our city is a great believer in what the youth can accomplish for our country. Our city believes in the great power of our youth, the power of dreams, and the great value of talents of Filipinos throughout the country,” added Fernandez.

Keynote speaker Education Secretary Briones, thanked the mayor for her support to the success of the event. She also commended Fernandez for her support in youth development in the city.

“We would like to thank Mayor Belen Fernandez for her consistent support not just in the efforts of DepEd but in her continuous promotion of talents, gifts, culture of Pangasinan and her full support for sports of the city, and in the province and region,” said Briones.

Briones also underscored the roles and importance of both sciences and arts in the development of the youth.

“DepED commits itself not only to the development of our learners in the sciences – in their studies, but also on those things that appeal to our souls, to our sense of identity, (the things) that give us beauty and help us survive all the challenges we are facing,” added Briones.

After hoisting the national and regional banners of each delegation, Briones formally declared the 2019 NFOT open.

Individual and group contests included in the three-day competition were Technolympics, Industrial Arts, Home Economics, Agri-fishery Arts, Information and Communication Technology, Sining Tanghalan, Population Development, Tagisan ng Talino, and Special Program in Foreign Language or Language Skills Competition. (Verdelle De Vera/CIO)