COTABATO City– Utilizing sports as a vehicle for peace has always been the direction of the Philippines Sports Commission (PSC) under the leadership of Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez.
It is among the top priority of the sports body apart from supporting elite athletes to be globally competitive.
In order to live up to its purpose, PSC’s Mindanao Office pilot-tested this in an area believed to be one of the most stereotyped provinces for armed conflict and violence in Mindanao.
order to live up to its purpose, PSC’s Mindanao Office pilot-tested this in an area believed to be one of the most stereotyped provinces for armed conflict and violence in Mindanao.
Last Sunday, November 17, PSC and its counterpart Philippines Sports Institute (PSI) immersed the Mindanao Sports for Peace Caravan in Cotabato City in a bid to foster peace in Mindanao through sports grassroots development.
The caravan, which is currently being hosted at the Cotabato City State Polytechnic University (CCSPU), will feature various sports activities and clinics for more than 500 children from the province until Wednesday, November 20.
This move is anchored under the sports for peace program of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte who believes that ” the language of sports is the language of peace”.
The caravan designed an Ate/Kuya Leadership Training program which attracted a total of 50 volunteers from the 4th year MAPEH students of CCSPU. These youth volunteers will assist in facilitating the sports activities and clinics.
PSC Mindanao Office cluster head Ed Fernandez, PSI Mindanao head Marlon Malbog, PSI Deputy Head Cholo Elegino among other officials spearheaded the leadership training program.
Fernandez said the program builds bridges for everyone as it defies barriers among religions and cultures.
“Very powerful ang program ni PSC chairman Butch to make sports as a vehicle for peace,” Fernandez said in an interview.
The caravan, said Fernandez, will move to its next destination that will depend on the itinerary of the commission.
He also said PSC commissioner Charles Raymond Maxey will grace the opening of games slated Tuesday, November 19.
The people of Cotabato City, on the other hand, expressed their gratitude to the commission for the relentless effort in attaining peace through sports programs in Mindanao including their city.
PSC official Judith Laygo, meanwhile, lauded the CCSPU for warmly welcoming the program.
Colonel Taharudin Ampatuan of the Armed Forces of the Philippine praised the program for taking a huge part in the peace process which aims to end conflict in Cotabato.