THE Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in cooperation with the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) brought cheers to some 600 children as Unesco-cited Children’s Games held simultaneously in Jose Abad Santos (JAS), Davao Occidental and Banaybanay, Davao Oriental last November 8 and 9, 2019.
PSC Chairman William I. Ramirez said the national sports agency has been faithful and committed to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s mandate to bring sports to the periphery.
“We have visited provinces which have never been visited by the PSC or any other sports program before,” the PSC chief said.
The road to JAS was tedious. From Davao City, PSC Mindanao staff, led by program coordinator Cholo Elegino, had to cross three rivers to reach the municipality, which was roughly 229 kilometers and a seven-hour trip from Davao City.
But seeing the faces of 300 kids eagerly anticipating a day of fun and games at Holy Cross of Caburan was indeed worth the challenging trip.
About 250 children in the municipality played tug of peace, sack race, piko, dodgeball, kadang-kadang and dampa.
On the side, Elegino conducted a basketball clinic to 20 budding dribblers while veteran coach Mario Mojica facilitated the volleyball clinic to 31 participants.
Holy Cross of Caburan principal Sister Judalyn Caberos graced the two-day event, which also saw 30 Ate Kuya leadership training attendees. This was designed for volunteers who handled the Children’s Games participants.
Meanwhile, Muslim children of the Kagan tribe from San Isidro Labrador Parish played with Christians and Lumads, showing that sports crosses barriers of religion, culture and socio-economic status.
“I’m happy that plenty of Muslim kids joined the Children’s Games. This just proves that sports is inclusive, a powerful vehicle for peace,” PSC Mindanao cluster head Ed Fernandez said.
Another 300 children joined the games while 30 participated in the Ate Kuya leadership training that he and consultant Gemima Valderrama conducted.
PSC also donated sports equipment to Banaybanay Municipal Government, which was received by Mayor Adalia C. Lopez and to the San Isidro Parish Church through parish priest Edito Bano along with Vice Governor Nino Uy who also witnessed the children play Larong Pinoy games.
Bansalan, Davao del Sur will be the next stop of the Children's Games whose residents also suffered from the series of earthquakes that struck parts of Mindanao recently.