Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Harry Angping vowed to support the indigenous sport of arnis—the country’s new national sport. President Gloria Arroyo recently signed the Republic Act 9850 declaring arnis as the national martial art and sport of the Philippines. The law was authored by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, an arnis practitioner himself.
“We are more that willing to support their needs especially in promoting the sport in different regions,” said Angping.
Zubiri was a national champion back in 1988 and became a world champion in the Fisrt Arnis World Championship held at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in 1989.
According to Zubiri, the Sports commission will be the lead implementator of the law in coordination with the Department of Education and the National Commission on Culture and Arts.
“The main reason why I sponsored the law is to unify all styles of arnis-kali eskrima under FMA [Filipino martial arts]. It saddens me that our home-grown sport and martial art is more popular abroad than in the Philippines,” said Zubiri for his part.
The lawmaker also donated P5 million to the Sports commission, which will be used in its grassroots development program.
EMIL C. NOGUERA