By Mizpah Grace G. Castro
Over 1,500 children are expected to participate in the first Ilocos Norte Children’s games this November 20-22, a celebration of Universal Children’s Day sponsored by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) thru Senior Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Matthew Marcos Manotoc and Provincial Sports Consultant Faivo P. Bartolome, and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
This is in line with the advocacy of Manotoc to promote a healthier lifestyle for Ilocanos by encouraging physical and athletic activity. Last year, he initiated the construction of three-generational or “3G” playgrounds in selected towns throughout the province to encourage residents of all ages to make use of facilities that include both playground sets and outdoor exercise apparatus.
The Children’s Games will involve a mix of traditional Filipino and modern games, ranging from tug-of-war, patintero, and bawang base to basketball, volleyball, and relays.
The competitions would be part of the strategic mass-based sports program under the development program that the PGIN is strategizing together with the PSC, which doubles as a community-building effort, according to PSC Consultant Sergio Opeña.
Opeña was in the province last November __ for a workshop with provincial, city, and municipal sports officials to craft the official sports development program for Ilocos Norte.
Meanwhile, Faivo shared, “Although marami na tayong ginawang mga programa for the province and through the local government units and provincial government, kailangan nating gumawa ng legit na manggagaling mismo sa mga idea natin, sa lahat ng sector – yung private sector, the Department of Education, at mga college at university natin.
“Kailangan nating kumuha ng mga input from them para makabuo talaga tayo ng genuine sports program para sa probinsiya.”
He also explained the mass sports concept: “Pwedeng laruin ito ng mga bata, matatanda, mga senior citizen, at mga disabled, so sakop lahat.”
From mass sports, said Opeña, “we go into grassroots sports development which would start scientifically with talent testing and [categorizing] children on which sport each is likely to succeed. We will be proceeding very scientifically in order to train young children to develop their sports potential.”
Other areas that the sports development program will address is human resources development for officials, coaches, trainers, and physical education (PE) teachers, as well as standardization of sports facilities.
He emphasized that “the end goal of the sports program are: for the masses, that whatever is their situation in life, they will enjoy the games; so the first level is for a healthy citizenry. The second goal is for the development of athletes.
“Hopefully, we will see residents enjoying games and we will have a pool of athletes competing in local, national, and international sports competitions.”
Earlier this year through Provincial Ordinance No. 005-2016, Manotoc enacted the offering of Sirib Athletic Scholarships under the Ilocos Norte Youth Development Office (INYDO); likewise, through Ordinance No. 008-2016 he mandated the creation of city and municipal counterparts to the INYDO.
Similar to the upcoming Children’s Games, he institutionalized the Ilocos Norte Youth Games through Ordinance No. 009-2016 which gathered over 2,000 young Ilocano athletes for a series of sports competitions last May. (Mizpah Grace G. Castro, PGIN-CMO)