DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/Feb. 9) – The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has set up here its first Mindanao satellite office amid robust moves to strengthen its grassroots development program in the island.
Joseph Encabo, chief of staff of PSC chair William Ramirez, said the Mindanao satellite office is the first extension administrative center of the national sports agency.
Its primary job is to help augment the talent identification and grassroots development program of the PSC, the country's highest sports body.
It will also coordinate with various local government units the programs of the PSC in Mindanao which has 27 provinces and 33 cities as well as the promotion of Philippine Sports Institute, Encabo said.
The PSC official said they chose Davao City for its first satellite office in Mindanao because of its "easy access to information.”
"The Davao office can communicate easily to other regions in (Southwestern) Mindanao and Caraga for instance, "he said"And, this is aside from the fact that Davao City is the center of economic mobility and growth in Mindanao," he added.
The PSC has allotted P50 million of its 2008 annual budget to fund grassroots development programs in the countryside that aim to strengthen its search for new talents as future members of the national team.
The PSC is also planning to put up "another office" in Lanao del Norte (Northern Mindanao) and also in Zamboanga City (Western Mindanao) to cater to the Zamboanga Peninsula area and Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
"This (Mindanao satellite office) was also established for the revival of the Mindanao Friendship Games (MFG), the Mindanao's sports for peace program, later this year," Encabo said.
The revival of MFG which has been dormant for half a decade, will be held in Lanao del Norte on Nov. 29 to Dec. 5.
The MFG, which had sent a strong message of peace in the region in 2001, 2002 and 2003, was scrapped from the calendar of the national sports agency in 2004 due to funding shortage.
The multi-sports competition among the island's local government units was launched in Tubod, Lanao del Norte in 2001, a year after the "all-out war" against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) erupted in Kauswagan town of the same province.
The war eventually spread to other parts of the island with MILF presence.
The games were then held in Cagayan de Oro City in 2002 and finally in Mati, Davao Oriental the following year.Aside from Mindanao's sports for peace, the PSC will also revive the Philippine National Games and boost the Palarong Pambansa (National Games), a multi-sports competition for elementary and high school students. (Rico Biliran/MindaNews)