Sunday May, 29 2022 09:42:26 AM

PSC, OMI open Mindanao Sports of Peace 2022 

Mindanao Peace Process • 07:30 AM Fri May 13, 2022
Edwin O. Fernandez
SPORTS FOR PEACE. Participants to the “First Bola Hindi Bala Games” show their skills in basketball during the PSC-OMI Mindanao sports for peace games 20220. (Contributed photo)

MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato – The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in partnership with Notre Dame of Jolo College and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate Missionary Foundation-Inter-Religious Dialogue (OMF-IRD) Ministry will open today the 3-day Mindanao Sports of Peace 2022 at Notre Dame of Midsayap College grounds.

The brains behind this noble program are PCS chair William “Butch” Ramirez, Fr. Romeo Saniel, OMI and Nu-man C. Caludtiag, chairman of BAngsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Sports for Peace.

About 300 Christian and Muslim children and youth from the towns of Midsayap, Aleosan, Datu Piang and Pigcawayan and nearby areas are expected to participate.

Fr. Romeo Saniel, OMI who heads the OMF-IRD Ministry, said the three-day event has three components under the PSC-OMI sports program that include: First, sports clinic in basketball, volleyball, and badminton. Second, trauma healing and counselling sessions and third countering violent extremism as part of the OMF IRD advocacy.

Fr. Saniel said the youth and children who are victims of armed conflict are experiencing the following: traumas brought about by violence and war, hatred and mistrust, and drug abuse.

“These negative experiences are utilized by extremist groups present in the areas in their recruitment. They become most vulnerable to join the ISIS movement,” he said.

“The Mindanao sports for peace attempts to respond to these economic, social and psychological problems. It is believed that sports can transform the lives of these innocent victims,” Fr. Saniel said.

He added: “The sports clinic activity can help young people to play and become healthy. The trauma healing activity can help heal their traumatic experiences. And, the inputs on countering violent extremism can help to prevent them from joining the group.”

He said PSC has supported the following schedules: Midsayap cluster on May 13-15, 2022; Jolo Cluster on May 20-22 and Pikit cluster on May 27-29, 2022.

“This project will benefit 900-1,000 children/youth and 150 coaches from the war-torn provinces of Maguindnao, North Cotabato and Sulu and Tawi-Tawi,” Fr. Saniel said.

The Jolo cluster will have about 300 youth and 50 coaches playing and competing in peace sports at Notre Dame of Jolo College with players from Jolo, Patikul, Maimbung and Talipao.

The Pikit cluster will also have 300 youth and 50 coaches in attendance from 10 Peace Zone barangays and six Madrasa/Islamic schools in Pikit, Aleosan and Datu Piang.

This Mindanao Sports for peace project was preceded by the “Bola Hindi Bala Games” spearheaded by PSC chair Ramirez, PSC Mindanao Director Eduardo Fernandez and Fr. Saniel.

Fr. Saniel recalled that one of the participants of “Bola Hindi Bala Games Part 1,” project has said after playing five days of sports clinic and playing with Christian athletes that “Akala ko lahat na Kristiyano ay kalaban. Hindi pala. Nagkamali lang sila.”

To inspire others to have similar projects, Fr. Saniel quoted former South African President Nelson Mandela who said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does...ports can create hope, where once was despair.” 

ALL FOR PEACE. PSC under William Ramirez (center) poses with Nu-man C. Caludtiag, Chairman of BARMM Sports for Peace and Fr. Romeo Saniel, OMI (right).

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