MANILA, Philippines—Government and sports officials Thursday welcomed the signing of Republic Act 9850, also known as the Arnis Law, saying it will boost the development of the sport that “truly originated in our country.”

The Arnis Law was signed on Dec. 11, making the martial art which features fighting sticks as the country’s national sport.

“Arnis is one sport which truly originated in our country, a part of our rich culture and tradition,” Arnis Philippines president Raymond Velayo, who worked for the passage of the law since 1995, said before government and sports officials who gathered in a meeting Thursday at the Club Filipino in San Juan City.

The Arnis Law was authored and sponsored by Senators Manuelito Lapid, Miguel Zubiri, Richard Gordon, Mar Roxas, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Aquilino Pimentel Jr. Congressmen Arthur Pingoy Jr., Pryde Henry Teves, Cesar Jalosjos, Nanette Castelo Daza and Narciso Santiago III also backed the law.

With the passage of the law, the sport becomes a Physical Education course for the Department of Education (DepEd). Arnis has also been included in the roster of events in the 2010 Palarong Pambansa. Arnis Philippines becomes the 33rd member of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and is recognized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

Also attending the meeting Thursday were officials of the POC, PSC, DepEd and National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). DepEd and NCCA officials actually backed arnis over sipa as the national sport during the congressional deliberations on the law

Arnis was also played in the 1991 and 2005 Southeast Asian Games, which were hosted by the country. Cedelf P. Tupas

Source :
Philippine Daily Inquirer