“The gold, silver and bronze medals you are searching is beautiful and good. But there is something more important than our search of gold medals.”
Those were the rather striking words of Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William “Butch” Ramirez in his message to some 3,000 delegates from 89 Local Government Unit (LGU)s of Mindanao during the opening ceremony of the 2019 Batang Pinoy Mindanao Leg held at the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex in Tagum City late Sunday.
The country’s sports czar stressed the importance of friendship, discipline, values and character formation which the athletes will be able to gain in the weeklong sportsfest designed for in-school and out-of-school Filipino youths aged 15 years old and below.
Apart from being the grassroots development platform of the PSC, Ramirez said Batang Pinoy is also a core model of the agency’s sports for peace program along with his brainchild Children’s Games which is recognized by the Unesco.
Ramirez also lauded Davao del Norte governor Anthony Del Rosario for showing resiliency despite the calamity that hit the province weeks ago.
“Certainly, in the midst of our convergence this afternoon, it is good to remember the peripheries the of the Davao del Norte and Davao Oriental which recently struck by flood,” Ramirez said.
Del Rosario, for his part, believes that sports is a powerful force in building an effective society, thus, the province of Davao del Norte will continue to extend its full support for the programs of the PSC.
“The world class facilities of the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex will be always available for the PSC to use,” Del Rosario said.
The governor received a token of appreciation from Ramirez along with Commissioners Ramon Fernandez, Charles Raymond Maxey, Celia Kiram and Arnold Agustin.
At dusk, colorful fireworks lit up the skies capping the traditional opening ceremony.
Meanwhile, a total of 729 gold, 729 silver and 1,063 bronze medals are at stake in the games.
This year’s edition of the games 20 events are entered including archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, chess, dancesport, karatedo, pencak silat, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball and futsal.
Action goes full throttle in several venues around Tagum City beginning Monday.