MANILA, Philippines?President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently signed into law Republic Act. No. 9850 declaring arnis as the national martial art and sports of the country.
Arnis Philippines (ARPI) president Raymond Velayo was overjoyed with the news, saying in a statement that ?the law?s passage will ensure the preservation of arnis as part of our heritage.?
Velayo initiated moves to have arnis labeled the national sport since 1995.
Under the new law, the education department is now mandated to include arnis as a Physical Education course. The sport will now also be among the priority sports in the 2010 Palarong Pambansa.
Velayo said arnis is being practiced in all five clusters of the Philippine Olympic Festival (POF) and in all 17 regions in the Palarong Pambansa all in coordination with ARPI.
Founded in 1986, ARPI is the 33rd official member of Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and recognized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
ARPI successfully lobbied for the inclusion of arnis in 1991 and 2005 Southeast Asian Games. George Lizares, contributor