THE traditional Filipino martial arts Arnis will be given top honor in this year’s staging of the country’s largest youth sports event Palarong Pambansa, the education department said Friday.

DepEd Assistant Secretary and concurrent spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the department is just following the provision of Republic Act 9850 that declared Arnis as the Philippine’s national martial arts and sports and must be given due honor every Palarong Pambansa.

“Actually, Arnis has been in the roster of games of the Palaro for the past two years, but this time it’s different because our school sports officials are really pushing for it,” said Malaya.

“We have been told that Arnis, though indigenous to our country, is practiced in countries other than the Philippines. It’s quite ironic that the Special Forces in the United States, Russia and Israel use them and recognize them as a Filipino art (but we practiced it less),” he added.

According to him, the department will do its part in helping propagate Arnis as a modern sport that can compete with other popular combat sports like taekwondo, karate and judo.

“DepEd will work hand in hand with other government agencies to ensure that Arnis gets the recognition it truly deserves. When we promote Arnis, we also promote our cultural heritage because Arnis is home grown,” added Education Secretary Mona Valisno.

As the lead agency in sports development, the DepEd is behind efforts to propagate the practice of Arnis in schools after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the “Arnis Law” on December of 11 last year.

The law mandated the schools to include it in its sports curriculum.

Arnis is an indigenous Filipino martial art using one or two sticks. It is characterized by the use of swinging and twirling movements, accompanied by striking, thrusting and parrying techniques for defense and offense.

Arnis competitions of the Palarong Pambansa will be held at the Tarlac Christian College during the entire duration of the games starting this Monday, April 12. (AH/Sunnex)

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