PSC to revive 3 core sports programs

THE Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) will revive three core sports programs in this part of the country - Mindanao Friendship Games (MFG), Mindanao Children's Games (MCG) and the Sports for Peace (SFP) by next year.

PSC chairman William "Butch" Ramirez bared this during the National Consultative Meeting held at the PSC-Philsports Arena in Pasig City Thursday, September 22.

Ramirez said that although his board of commissioners is focused on policy-making, these three Games that give primary focus on Mindanao will be an ovesight of Commissioner Charles Raymond Maxey who hails from Davao City.

Maxey, in a text interview, said that reviving these three programs, which foster goodwill among Mindanao cities and provinces and promote peace among children in war-torn areas, will help open more opportunities for the island and its people.

"Mindanao has been a neglected island for so many years. People view this island as a land of trouble and conflict. We want to correct the notion that it is a troubled land," the former SunStar Davao editor said, adding that holding these games will prove to all and sundry that peace can be achieved in Mindanao, which is truly the land of promise.

He also said that these events will also bring unity and camaraderie among people.

"The games will also create a just and lasting peace we have been dreaming to achieve for so long a time," Maxey said.

The revival of the MFG, MCG and SFP, according to him, will be held after the launching of the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) in January.

The MFG was first launched in 2002 at the sprawling Mindanao Civic Center in Tubod, Lanao del Norte then Cagayan de Oro City hosted it in 2003.

Mati, Davao Oriental was venue of the third, and the last, MFG in 2004.

Ramirez urged stakeholders, mostly coming from different local government units (LGUs) and regional directors of the Department of Education and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, to love the country and the children.

In an interview with SunStar SuperBalita, the PSC chief said the Games will address the "need for unity that has been missing in troubled Mindanao".

Ramirez said that aside from the Mindanao Friendship Games, they will also put up the Luzon Games and the Visayas Games to put premium on the country's regional identities.

Sports leaders from Davao Region lauded the revival.

Davao del Norte provincial sports coordinator Giovanni Gulanes said the revival is timely as peace is the primary concern in the country.

"Sports is an instrument to promote peace not just in Mindanao. Holding Visayas and Luzon Games is a welcome move, the more games the better," Gulanes said in the vernacular.

Davao City's Sports Development Division of the City Mayor's Office officer-in-charge Mikey Aportadera, for his part, supports the idea of reviving the MFG, saying, "Sports could be the only thing that would break the barriers among tribes and clans."

Holy Cross of Davao College sports coordinator Rudy Salvador said he's happy with the move to revive the Games as they, too, have been promoting sports among children. He cited their own Mindanao Peace Games where they develop coaches, leaders and mentors.

University of Mindanao sports director Joaquin "Boy" Sarabia, for his part, that Mindanaoans deserve a sports program designed for them.

Philippine Rugby Football Union senior development officer Rose Lanticse, meanwhile, said she's excited about the three Mindanao sports programs, which she claims will be good for the children. (With report from Marizz S. Robilla)

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