TAGUM CITY, Davao – Peace and camaraderie through sports.
This was stressed by Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William “Butch” Ramirez during the formal opening of the Mindanao leg of the 2019 Batang Pinoy here Sunday.
“If children can play together without the biases of who they are, then achieving peace is very possible,” said Ramirez during the media briefing at the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex.
Ramirez underscored the importance of sports in achieving a lasting peace.
“This is the ultimate goal of this multi-sport competition for athletes 15 years old and below,” explained Ramirez, adding no less than President Duterte instructed him to make sports accessible to everyone, especially to children in far-flung areas.
The PSC head said he is “very happy to see these young athletes from various tribes, ethnicities and religions coming together not only to compete, but also to develop friendship and camaraderie.”
Also present during the press briefing held hours before the opening ceremony were Davao del Norte Gov. Anthony del Rosario, Batang Pinoy head of secretariat Teresito Fortaleza Jr. and Davao del Norte chief on youth and sports development Giovanni Gulanes.
The eight-day competition formally got underway Sunday with almost 3,000 athletes from as far as Cotabato, Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga vying for 729 golds, 729 silvers and 1,063 bronzes in 20 sports.
The winners will advance to the national finals scheduled in October either in Tagbilaran City in Bohol or Ormoc City in Leyte.
The medal-rich events of archery, karatedo, taekwondo and pencak silat will come off the wraps Monday.
The venues are Davao del Norte and Tourism Complex, City Mall, RDR Gym, E-Park, Rotary Gym, Bgy. Apoknon Gym, Trade Center, Bulwagang Pangkarunungan, NCCC Mall, Robinsons Mall, USEP Gym, Gaisano Mall, UM Tagum Gym, Max Mirafuentes Gym, Beach Velodrome, Bgy. San Miguel Gym Meanwhile, officials of the of organzing committee assured particpants about security for the event .
“The PNP (Philippine National Police) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) are already in heightened alert,” said Gulanes.
“We will implement tight security measures not only in competition venues, but also in all choke points and billeting areas. Everything is under control as far as security is concerned,” Gulanes told mediamen covering the event.