FILIPINO martial arts “arnis” has been named a national martial arts and sports of the Philippines.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde on Friday said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Republic Act (RA) 9850 declaring arnis as the country’s national martial arts and sports.

Remonde was happy about the recognition that arnis got since it is quite a popular sports in his home province Cebu.

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“You know I am particularly happy about this because arnis or eskrima is quite popular in Cebu. In fact, the most prominent arnis grandmaster is a Cebuano in the person of Mr. Kakoy Canete,” he said.

He also related that he even become a fan of arnis when he was younger.

In recognition for the distinction that arnis has been earning internationally, Remonde said it is worthy that this sports will be recognized nationwide.

“This is something that is truly ours,” he lauded.

Arnis Philippines (Arpi), headed by Raymond Velayo, was the group who lobbied for the approval of the bill in Congress since 1995.

Some of the lawmakers who signed the bill into law were now senators Manuelito Lapid, Miguel Zubiri, Mar Roxas, Richard Gordon, and Ramon Revilla Jr. and former senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr.

Representatives Arthur Pingoy Jr., Pryde Henry Teves, Cesar Jalosjos, Nanette Castelo Daza, and Narciso Santiago III with the help of Arpi directors Servillano Padiz Jr., Ramon Dizon, Medardo Quiambao, and Richmond Velayo also signed the bill.

Arnis is an ancient Filipino Martial Arts also known as Kali or Eskrima.

Originally known as Arnis de Mano, or harness of the hand, the art incorporated empty handed fighting as well as techniques with a variety of weapons specializing in short sticks and knife techniques.

Modern arnis has been taught widely in schools in the country. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)