ARMM’s regional athletic meet on PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 22 February 2016 11:38

Officials are certain the 2016 regional athletic meet in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will strengthen anew the cultural and religious solidarity among athletes and teachers in ARMM’s five component provinces.

The athletic meet in Maguindanao’s seaside Parang town was launched Saturday by ARMM officials led by Regional Education Secretary John Magno, credited for much of the improvements in the agency’s region-wide operations in the past three years.

The symbolic meet kickoff rite was also graced by Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and the congressional representative of the first district of the province, Congresswoman Sandra Sema.

Speakers in the launching of the athletic meet, to culminate on Thursday, took turns appealing to participants and school officials from ARMM’s component provinces, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, both in Central Mindanao, and the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, to continue supporting the southern peace process.

Magno had told The STAR, at the sideline of the meet’s opening festivities, a big number of employees of the Department of Education in the autonomous region also came to Parang to show solidarity in appreciating the major improvements in the agency as a result of the reforms being initiated since 2012 by ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman.

The DepEd-ARMM was touted as the most corrupt and mismanaged department in the regional government during the time of past regional governors.

Athletes and teachers from ARMM provinces, grouped into nine public schools divisions, started arriving at Parang town late Thursday, according to meet organizers.

Magno said Hataman is confident this year’s regional athletic meet, dubbed Palarong ARMM, will enhance the cordiality among the culturally-diverse Muslim and Christian athletes from across the autonomous region.

“Religious and cultural solidarity among all ARMM residents is a major concern for this administration,” Magno said.

Magno said what was admirable with Saturday’s opening program of the Palarong ARMM was that none of the speakers talked about politics.

“They all talked about good governance, about the peace process and the need for us, ARMM residents, to remain united for us to achieve progress, become at par with more developed regions around us,” he said.

Mangudadatu, Sema and the mayor of Parang, Ibrahim Ibay, all seeking reelection, were among the speakers in the Palaro opening program.

Hataman, first elected as ARMM governor on May 2013, is himself aspiring for a second term, a political bid back by four of the five provincial governors and more than 90 of the 116 mayors in the autonomous region.

Hataman’s bid for a second term is being challenged by Vice Gov. Sakur Tan, Sr. of Sulu, an ARMM province so poor and underdeveloped, known throughout the world as a sanctuary of the dreaded Abu Sayaff, feared for its practice of beheading captives kidnapped in Mindanao and abroad if ransom demands are not met.