Peace through sports
It was Black Saturday when PSC chair Butch Ramirez and MILF vice chair Ghazali Jaafar met at Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat.
Ramirez presented to Jaafar the Duterte administration’s Mindanao for Peace Program (MPP), which aims to involve MILF children in sports.
During the meeting, it was reported that the MILF vice chair assured Ramirez that they would set aside a 10-hectare land purposely to develop a sports complex in Maguindanao.
Ramirez said the MILF vice chair gave the assurance even without consulting their central committee.
Under the MPP, Muslim youth will be involved in the grassroots development program of the government.
There are also plans of bringing in coaches and sports scientists and set up offices in areas where MILF is active.
The two also discussed the possibility of having the youth members of the MILF take part in the next staging of the Batang Pinoy Games, an annual national competition for athletes below 15 years old.
The PNG, meanwhile, will be open for the MILF adult athletes.
It was earlier reported that officials wanted to hold the Batang Pinoy and PNG every two years to give local government units (LGUs) ample time to plan grassroots programs and prepare athletes for the regional eliminations.
Also during the meeting, Jaafar and other MILF leaders expressed interest in developing priority sports like combat, pencak silat, kuntao silat, archery and athletics.
Ramirez said among the objectives of the MPP was to alleviate poverty among Muslim youth and help attain lasting peace in Mindanao through sports.