My visit to Bongao, one of the islands of the province of Tawi-tawi almost coincided with lockdown in the first week of March.
But it was not the impending lockdown that made me busy in Bongao. It was the Children’s Games for Peace, part of the Sports for Peace program of the Philippine Sports Commission.
Children from the Municipality of Bongao gathered for a day of play and fun as encouraged by Unesco . Play is the children’s basic right and PSC is making sure these children all over the country play.
I also made sure that we in the PSC Mindanao would be in Bongao, Tawi-tawi. I heard about the place but I have not been there. Imagine a Mindanaoan like me has not visited remote places of Mindanao.
So I went to Bongao, met the officials from the LGU and from DepEd. In partnership with the Tawi-tawi School of Arts, we conducted the Children’s Games for Peace. The children aged 8 to 12 had fun playing with one another.
But the games the children played were not just for fun. It was actually building peace at an early age. It was peacemaking at their young age. They learned to respect each other at such a young age.
My visit to Bongao through this PSC program opened my eyes to realities I held close to me for many years. Bongao is just one of the 11 municipalities of the Province of Tawi-tawi.
Tawi-tawi province is the southern tip province of our country. Some island municipalities like Turtle Islands are so near Malaysia. That is why they speak Bahasa there.
So it is not true that the southern tip is Sulu province. Tawi-tawi it is. So mula Aparri hanggang Tawi-tawi. Not Sulu.
While there I had the chance to meet and talk to DepEd officers and personnel. Had the chance to talk to LGU officials. And former officials of the province like Gov Tillah.
Our next Sports project would have been the Children Games for Peace and Coaching Certification Course. In Simunul municipality. But the veerus prevented us. It overtook us and we had orders. No projects till end of this year.
Good news for us is a lot of LGUs and other institutions are now aware of the Sports for Peace program – that sports is a powerful tool to promote peace.
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