CASIGURAN, Aurora — More than a hundred children from the Agta Dumagat tribe attended the Sports for Peace Children’s Games project of the Philippine Sports Commission held on Tuesday at the Motiong Beach here.
PSC chairman William Ramirez, Casiguran mayor Reynaldo Bitong, and Dinapigue, Isabela mayor Reynaldo Derije attended the event that coincided with President Duterte’s visit to Benham Rise, now called Philippine Rise.
The Benham Rise is located more than 200 kilometers from this town located north of the Aurora province but has become a disputed area with China.
Ramirez said the Sports for Peace Children’s Games is attuned to President Duterte’s goal of encouraging indigenous tribes people to do physical activities like parlor games and eventually sports.
“Ang sabi sa akin ni Digong, pakainin mo mga elite athletes pero gusto kong makakita ng mga atleta na indigenous. These are the people that really need attention,” said Ramirez.
Among the games that were played by children aged 8 to 12 years old were karerang talon, salok dagat, suot lusot, karerang takbo, Mamita went to town, alupihan, and pasahang tubig.
Ramirez takes pride in the program since it is one of the few government programs that are recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Unesco).
“Inembrace nila ‘yung ginawa ng Pilipinas kasi tayo lang ang gobyerno na may programa sa kabataan. Karamihan daw kasi NGO,” said Ramirez.
Ramirez said the Sports for Peace Children’s Games is a potential grassroots development program where talents can be found.
“Etong Children’s Games creates awareness in the periphery. Kapag na-inspire mo ‘yan, kasama ‘yan sa mass sports ng UN at ng Pilipinas. Part siya ng grassroots sports,” Ramirez said.
Already, Ramirez said he has seen a few potentials who can be athletes in track and field.
“Meron akong nakitang matangkad na bata na puwede sa 100-meter dash. For you to win the 100-m dash, kailangan may physique at matangkad. Balak namin magpadala ng track and field coach dito,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez said the PSC will return here late this year for the Indigenous Games.